Central West’s dream of playing at the Sydney Cricket Ground is alive after Cricket NSW and the SCG Trust negotiated to have this summer’s Plan B Regional Bash finals played at the venue in February.
The finals of the regional Twenty20 tournament will be staged at the SCG on Tuesday, February 5, with the Wranglers, ACT Aces, Coffs Coast Chargers and Central Coast Rush all earning their first chance to play at the historic ground in season 2018-19.
The finals were originally postponed from their set date on December 2 and then later moved to North Sydney Oval and scheduled for February 17 as a result of the SCG’s burgeoning calendar of events, which stems from the knockdown of the next door Allianz Stadium.
It was a move that didn’t sit well with Wranglers batsman Joel Gurney who was feeling pretty disappointed when he got the news.
“For Cricket NSW to roll over and take that away from us was disappointing, they didn’t fight to have us there, they didn’t make an effort,” he said.
Gurney made a point in saying North Sydney Oval was a good venue, but it’s not the SCG.
“Don’t get me wrong, the North Sydney Oval is a massive part of the history of cricket and a beautiful venue but for players like Jameel Qureshi and myself, we have played Sydney Grade Cricket and already experienced that,” he said.
The young batsman remained positive that Cricket NSW would have a change of heart and they did.
“Finally commonsense has prevailed!
“We are off to the Scudgee as Benny Sheehan likes to call it,” he said.
Gurney also said he had mixed emotions when receiving the phone call from Wranglers skipper Qureshi as probably everyone did.
“For us now it is business as usual as we all prepare for the battle that’s to come, bring on the regional bash,’ he said.
Blayney-based skipper Qureshi said the about-face from the SCG Trust was a welcome one.
“Absolutely. I think it’s the best possible outcome,” Qureshi said.
“And rightly so, this is what country cricket deserves. Thanks to Cricket NSW and the SCG Trust for making it happen.”
The February 5 finals will mark the fourth straight season the regional bash finals have been held at the SCG, but the first time Central West will appear in the final four.
Central West will play ACT Aces in the first semi-final from 10am, with the Central Coast and Coffs Coast to go head-to-head in the second semi from 2pm.
The final will then be staged under lights from 6.30pm.
Similarly to Gurney and Qureshi, Cricket NSW community cricket general manager Ivan Spyrdz thanked the SCG Trust for accommodating the matches.
“Cricket NSW is delighted to be able to negotiate to have the Plan B Regional Bash Finals day at the SCG,” Mr Spyrdz said.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved who assisted in making this possible amongst a very tight SCG schedule. The SCG Trust, the four teams involved and all the individuals who assisted in the negotiations.
“What this really highlights is the value we all place in our regional players and members. We’ve always wanted the best for them, we always do.”
This year’s Central West squad included players from Bathurst, Orange and Lithgow.
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