NEWCASTLE District Cricket Association clubs have voted to continue playing at No.1 Sportsground this season but will lobby Newcastle City Council to upgrade the venue.
The future of the city’s premier cricketing arena has been clouded since the council recently introduced overtime curating fees for weekends, inflating the cost of usage from $355 to $467.30 on Saturdays and $504.75 on Sundays.
Some clubs indicated they would rather play elsewhere than incur the extra expense, but a meeting of NDCA club presidents resolved on Monday to keep using No.1 while negotiating with the powers-that-be.
NDCA chairman Paul Marjoribanks urged the council to maximise the value of the ground.
‘‘We feel the council should explore options such as corporate signage, naming rights for the ground and most importantly restoring the ground to the level needed to host first-class cricket and other major sporting events,’’ Marjoribanks said.
‘‘What the ACT Government has done to Manuka Oval is an excellent example with improved spectator facilities, lighting and corporate support.
‘‘They are hosting an international one-day fixture between Australia and West Indies in February.
‘‘A number of excellent suggestions came from our club presidents meeting and Newcastle Cricket would welcome the opportunity to take some of these further with the NCC executive.’’
Marjoribanks said patrons Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwell would discuss the issue with Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy.