North venue loses out to South

AURORA Stadium officials yesterday remained upbeat despite watching two of their ‘‘wish list’’ items go to the South of the state.

For the second year in a row, A-League powerhouse Melbourne Victory has ignored its former Tasmanian home after choosing to play a preseason match against Sydney FC at North Hobart Oval on Sunday, September 28.

Last year it played the Western Sydney Wanderers at the Kingston Twin Ovals.

That ground was also announced yesterday as being a training venue for next year’s Cricket World Cup as Bellerive Oval prepares to host three fixtures in March.

Aurora officials had hoped to use the Launceston ground as a training base, but, as Launceston City Council general manager Robert Dobrzynski told The Examiner in April, they believed it did not meet that criteria due to the fact it was not a host venue.

However, officials revealed last night that Aurora had in fact been put forward by Cricket Tasmania as possible training venue for the tournament, but it is believed the idea was rejected by Cricket Scotland (which plays two games at Bellerive).

An ICC Cricket World Cup spokesman yesterday confirmed that the Kingston Twin Ovals were able to be used as a venue, not a base, due to its close proximity to Bellerive Oval and the teams’ hotel.

Another training ground was needed to protect Bellerive Oval’s surface.

Ironically, both announcements came a day after it was revealed that Aurora will this year host its most official cricket matches, with the state’s women team the Tasmanian Roar to face the Queensland Fire in November.

Launceston City Council acting general manager Rod Sweetnam said those fixtures and the success of this year’s Ricky Ponting Tribute match, which attracted a record cricket crowd for this state of 17,771 and the Aussie 15s competition was evidence of the ground’s capability to be a high-quality cricket venue.

‘‘We’ll continue our discussions with Cricket Tasmania and we will keep promoting Aurora’s potential as a cricket venue,’’ Mr Sweetnam said.

‘‘We will keep an open dialogue about future opportunities.’’

In regards to again missing out on an A-League fixture, Mr Sweetnam said: ‘‘We have a good relationship with Football Federation Australia and Football Federation Tasmania and we are working with them to explore opportunities for future A-League games.’’


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