Cricket NSW today announced that Manuka Oval, Canberra would host the Bupa Sheffield Shield Final starting on Friday 21 March, should the Blues finish top of the table.
With the Sydney Cricket Ground being unavailable to host the Final due to upcoming Major League Baseball matches between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks, a number of venues were considered, with Manuka Oval being the final choice.
The NSW Blues will go into the final round of matches with several outcomes being possible, dependent on results. With Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales all on 26 points and Queensland on 22, several outcomes could occur with an outright or first innings win potentially allowing the Blues to host the final.
Cricket NSW Chief Executive Andrew Jones wanted to announce the potential venue of the final to provide certainty to players, fans and ground authorities:
“Enormous work goes into hosting a Shield Final and we felt it appropriate to announce the venue we will use should we finish top of the ladder. Many results are still possible with one round to play so this is purely a planning measure to give the venue time to prepare if necessary.
“A number of venues were considered, but fundamentally it was a cricket decision and our coaching staff felt that Manuka Oval was the right choice to host the Shield Final should the situation arise. The Blues are playing at Manuka this week, so playing the final there will provide continuity and familiarity of conditions.
“The decision also demonstrates our commitment to bring more top-level content to the ACT and Southern NSW and reinforces our partnership with the ACT Government and Cricket ACT.”
Cricket ACT Chairman, Ian McNamee was enthusiastic at the prospect of Manuka Oval hosting the Sheffield Shield Final:
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Canberra and the region to host a match of this stature. Manuka Oval is being increasingly recognised as a ground capable of hosting these elite matches and the strategic partnership with Cricket NSW continues to grow and promote cricket in our region.”
Andrew Barr MLA, ACT Minister for Sport and Recreation was very supportive of the decision:
“We are right behind the NSW Blues in their quest to secure hosting rights for this season’s Sheffield Shield final.
The ongoing improvements to Manuka Oval ensure that Canberra is able to host premium cricket content.
This opportunity is testament to the close working relationship that the ACT Government and Cricket ACT have with Cricket NSW, and I thank the Cricket NSW Chairman John Warn and CEO Andrew Jones for their support.”