CITY SPOTLIGHT ON BIG B ASH WOMEN
A LACK of suitable lighting continues to hinder Townsville’s goal of hosting a Big Bash League match, but the city is in contention to stage a WBBL game this summer.
The Brisbane Heat is yet to confirm a venue for two of its WBBL home fixtures – on January 7 and January 12 – after the BBL and WBBL draws were announced yesterday and Queensland Cricket is considering Townsville as an option.
However, it is understood the city will likely be overlooked for a Sheffield Shield game this year given Tony Ireland Stadium has already been allocated an Ashes tour match between England and a Cricket Australia XI from November 15- 18.
Townsville hosted a Queensland- Western Australia Shield game last year, but it is believed Cairns and Mackay will be the frontrunners to host a clash this year.
Given Mackay hosted the first Queensland Sheffield Shield home game to be played out of Brisbane two summers ago, Cairns looks likely to be favourite.
The lighting at Tony Ireland Stadium isn’t yet up to a standard suitable for television broadcasting at night, when the vast majority of men’s Big Bash League games are played.
“The regional centres like Townsville are definitely in the forefront of our thinking when it comes to scheduling matches,” a Queensland Cricket spokesman said. “It’s certainly very much in the frame for future matches, the memorandum of understanding ( standoff) has slowed down the decision making for a few things.”
Every BBL team was allocated an extra home game in the 2017- 18 schedule released yesterday, and Queensland Cricket have previously expressed their desire to eventually play games at regional venues.
Queensland Cricket boss Max Walters told the Bulletin in January the city was originally being considered as an option to host the extra home game.
“Townsville’s definitely in the mix, we’d love to take it to regional Queensland,” he said at the time. “Townsville, Mackay and Cairns have excellent facilities, and they’ll all be in the mix.
“The Gabba is going to be hard to leave because we’ll have to financially model what our profit … at the Gabba is… But we’d love to take it to the regions and spread the games around.”