Sunday Territorian

Sheffield Shield coming up north


SHEFFIELD shield cricket is poised to make a return to the Territory, with three matches from the 2021-22 season planned for Alice Springs and Darwin.

The NT News has learned final touches are being applied to a NSW-Western Australia clash in Darwin as early as next month.

Two matches have also been set down for Traeger Park in Alice Springs, with South Australia, Victoria and Queensland in the mix to ply their trade in the Red Centre.

Cricket Australia has become hamstrung with a lack of playing venues due to the pandemic problems in NSW and Victoria, and is understood to be looking at alternate venues around Australia.

Darwin and Alice Springs, with warm and dry weather, loom as prospectiv­e playing cities, though Darwin’s lifeline will be restricted with the onset of the wet season.

NT Cricket boss Joel Morrison would not comment on the prospect of having Australia’s best domestic cricketers in the NT for an extended period.

Southern Districts cricketer and NSW batsman Matthew Gilkes was more forthcomin­g, saying his stay and that of other players in the Top End could extend to the opening Shield game of the new season at Marrara’s DXC Arena in early October.

Blues Gilkes, allrounder Jack Edwards, fast bowler Chris Tremain, top-order bat Jason Sangha and Nick Larkin have resided in Darwin for the Strike League competitio­ns.

“I’m pretty sure with the effect of Covid, they’re scheduled to potentiall­y play the first Shield game here in Darwin,’’ Gilkes said.

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