Aussie 15s series a big hit

THE inaugural Aussie 15s cricket series played at Aurora Stadium over the past month has received a ringing endorsement from those involved and is set to return bigger and better next season.

The Tim Coyle-inspired series has been given the thumbs up not only by players and administrators but also spectators who voted with their feet.

Cricket lovers young and old made the most of the free entry and chance to see the cream of Northern cricket, boosted by quality imports from the South and North-West, playing a new, entertaining, format under lights at the premier sporting venue in the state.

With the possibility of more marque players joining the NTCA-aligned local hotel franchises next season, the Aussie 15s format is here to stay.

Inveresk Precinct manager Robert Groenewegen was rapt with the success of the inaugural series and how his facility coped with the demands of cricket for the first time.

``I thought the concept was outstanding,'' he said.

``The actual rules which were framed by Tim Coyle kept it interesting because the game could swing, even if a batsman did well, once he faced his 15 balls.

``We were thrilled with the crowds and obviously we were never going to match the crowd of the first night again _ and there were a lot of reasons that was so great with Ricky Ponting playing _ but it was pretty consistent from there and we thought it was terrific.

``If we can look at a few more marquee players next year it could even grow further.''

Groenewegen said the series provided an ideal test of the venue and its infrastructure for cricket.

``We had a few teething problems but overall it was really good as a test run before the Ponting Memorial game and it showed we can do it, which is great.''

NTCA president Paul Clark commended what he described as ``an innovative concept with some quirky little rules'' and the role former state coach Coyle played in getting it off the ground.

``From the cricket point of view we believe anybody playing cricket is a good thing and any promotion is a good thing and it highlighted cricket in Northern Tasmania and brought players from outside the area into the region to see how our administrators can put things together.

``Overall the series has its place and anything Timmy Coyle does is going to be supported because he is a demi-god in the cricket world. 

``People just love him because he is a proven operator having won Sheffield Shields and Ryobi Cups and he can do no wrong.

``People will follow him wherever he goes and it is a good thing for Northern Tasmania that he has come back to lead the charge to strengthen our cricket more.''

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