Shield cricket will return to the ‘Bush’ in season 2014-15, with the NSW Blues to play two matches in Regional NSW.
With discussions having taken place over the past few months, an agreement has finally been reached with both Newcastle and Wagga Wagga to host Bupa Sheffield Shield matches in February 2015.
Cricket NSW and both Councils have agreed multiple year agreements which will see other major events and fixtures in Regional NSW, along with a plan to improve local cricket facilities.
Wagga Wagga will host the Shield match at Robertson Oval against Victoria that will run between Sunday 15 February and Wednesday 18 February, while No 1 Sportsground Newcastle will play host to the NSW Blues versus Western Australia fixture starting on Wednesday 25 February and finishing on Saturday 28 February.
The return to Regional NSW will be just reward for Country cricket fans who will get a chance to see the current Shield holders up close and personal and each match will include at least one day’s play on the weekend.
Cricket NSW Chief Executive Andrew Jones is delighted at what lies ahead for cricket fans in the State: “This season will offer the best schedule of cricket ever seen across NSW. There is a feast of International cricket including the World Cup, we are again hosting most of the Domestic One Day Cup and we are delighted to be able to take two Shield matches back to the Bush. Country regions have been tremendous nurseries of cricketers for New South Wales and Australia, and it is great that cricket fans in Newcastle and Wagga Wagga will get a chance to see their heroes up close this summer.”
Wagga Wagga Mayor of the City, Rod Kendall was also delighted with the news: “Wagga Wagga is very excited to be hosting a Sheffield Shield match in the city. Many great cricketers have grown up and played their early cricket in Wagga and this match is a great opportunity for the city to showcase our wonderful sporting facilities, and a fantastic opportunity for regional residents to experience first class cricket in their own backyard.”
Newcastle Lord Mayor Cr Jeff McCloy said hosting a Sheffield Shield match is an exciting development for the city. “This event will bring significant economic benefits to accommodation providers, restaurants, transport, and tourist attractions, as cricket fans journey to Newcastle to see four days of first class cricket,” said the Lord Mayor.
“Hosting a NSW Blues match is a great opportunity to enhance the profile of cricket in Newcastle and to provide support to improve the infrastructure for grassroots cricket in the area. Council is pleased to partner with organizations such as NSW Cricket to bring major sporting events to Newcastle and the Hunter.”
MATCHES – BUPA SHEFFIELD SHIELD
NSW BLUES v VICTORIA – 15 – 18 February 2015 – Wagga Wagga
NSW BLUES v WESTERN AUSTRALIA – 25 – 28 February 2015 – Newcastle