Cricket NSW will lobby the state government for funding to build a stadium at the proposed Broadmeadow sports precinct capable of hosting Big Bash, Sheffield Shield and women’s national league fixtures.
Declaring there is “no suitable facility to host elite cricket between Sydney and the Far North Coast”, Cricket NSW will lodge a submission with Venues NSW by the end of this month for a purpose-built arena and a centre of excellence.
They have appealed to Newcastle players, coaches, volunteers and fans to “make your voice heard” and support the submission.
Newcastle’s traditional home of cricket, council-run No.1 Sportsground, does not meet modern requirements for top-tier matches and has not been used by the NSW Blues for three seasons.
Cricket NSW game-development general manager Ivan Spyrdz said “you’ve got to be in it to win it” and believes Newcastle “deserves” a code-specific venue that other smaller or equivalent-sized Australian cities like Canberra, Geelong and the Gold Coast already have.
“Newcastle is a vitally important region for Cricket NSW and we certainly want to look at how we increase both elite and local content in the area,” Spyrdz said.
“A purpose-built stadium rounder in nature is probably lacking between Sydney and the Queensland border, with the exception of Coffs Harbour, and to have the ability to really influence design and concept for cricket would be excellent.
“It’s a pretty rare generational opportunity we don’t want to miss. And to have the biggest sport in Australia not part of the biggest precinct in the seventh biggest city in the country, doesn’t sit comfortably with us.”
In terms of any potential new Hunter venue housing a permanent Big Bash League franchise, Spyrdz said “anything was possible” but the infrastructure would have to be put in place first.
“That’s a process Cricket Australia have to go through with any future expansion, but you can’t have a Big Bash team if you haven’t got a stadium,” he said.
No “full costing” for the development has been carried out at this stage while possibly sharing the facilities with other sports, such as AFL, hasn’t been ruled out.
Feedback can be made via the Venues NSW website.
Newcastle District Cricket Association chairman Paul Marjoribanks said he was “excited” about and “supportive” of the new proposal.
Spyrdz said Cricket NSW would continue collaborating with Newcastle City Council in relation to No.1 Sportsground.
“Cricket nowadays needs a certain level of requirement before bringing content there,” he said.
“We’re working closely with council on that.”
Meanwhile, Hawkins and Armstrong ovals have been ruled out indefinitely following damage caused by This That music festival over a rainy weekend.
The cricket venues, left torn-up and mud-ridden by punters and heavy vehicles, are used by Newcastle district club Hamilton-Wickham for lower grades and juniors as well as Newcastle City and Suburban teams.
Weekly touch football competitions also take place on the fields adjacent to Passmore Oval.