FEBRUARY’S Sheffield Shield match is the centrepiece of a three-year commitment from Cricket NSWto put Wollongong at the elite table.
Blues brother: Dapto junior and NSW coach Trent Johnston at North Dalton Park on Tuesday, announcing next year’s Sheffield Shield match. Picture: Sylvia Liber.
NSW will host Tasmania starting February 25, a match which could prove pivotal in Shield final qualification calculations.
The North Dalton Park match comes after Cricket NSW took Shield clashes to Wagga and Coffs Harbour in recent seasons.
Securing the fixture comes as part of a significant upgrade to Dalton Park facilities, the home of Wollongong Cricket Club and the Wollongong Lions Australian football team.
Dapto junior Trent Johnston is expecting the pitch to be of international standard for the Shield match, after the ground previously hosted Big Bash trials.
“The Sixers played here a couple of years ago when I was involved,” he said.
“The wicket was very good, a lot of pace and carry.
“To get that in the first few days and then get a turning wicket at the back end of the game will be exciting.”
With the Illawarra to host the Australian Country Championships in January and a NSW second XI match this year, aBig Bash trial is also on the agenda as part of the three-year commitment, as well as a women’s Big Bash match.
Johnston hoped Wollongong would become a regular feature on the NSW calendar.
“Absolutely,” he said.
“It will all depend on the facilities and how the wicket plays, but the ground staff here are committed to providing a good surface. Hopefully we can get more games down here in the future.”
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