Wade Park will be pushed as a venue to host Big Bash or Sheffield Shield games after new $69,000 reversible sightscreens were unveiled on Friday.
Orange City Council sport and recreation committee chair Jason Hamling said the sightscreens – which improve ball visibility for batters – were about “letting the game be played at its best” and making Wade Park the best cricket venue west of the divide.
“We’re hoping to bring some big games west of the Blue Mountains such as a Sheffield Shield or Big Bash game,” he said.
The sightscreens cost $69,000 to get up and running, with $35,000 supplied by Orange City Council, $12,000 by Orange District Cricket Association and $10,000 by the NSW government, with Mitchell Cricket Council and Western Zone Cricket chipping in $4000 each.
He said he wanted Cricket NSW to “bring on the big games” once the Cricketing Centre of Excellence was completed.
He also said it was “absolutely” time for Orange to push towards having a dedicated rectangular field for rugby and round-ball codes, and the sightscreens were part of that separation.
“The sports are crossing over and putting more pressure on our ground staff to prepare it,” he said.
“Most major centres have separate stadiums and I think it’s time Orange went the same way.”
The sightscreens – which can be removed in winter if needed – are capable of switching from white to black to suit either red-ball or white-ball cricket, which will help in Orange’s big to hold top-tier games in the colour city.
We’re hoping to bring some big games west of the Blue Mountains such as a Sheffield Shield or Big Bash game.Jason Hamling
Orange District Cricket Association president Mark Frecklington said as well as attracting big games, it would be a boon for cricketers from Orange and the Central West as well.
“We often have comments about trees in the background but they won’t have any excuses now,” he said.
“It will certainly get use for first grade and representative cricket and for Royal Hotel Cup [Twenty20] games.”
He said he was excited by the prospect of bidding for big domestic games.
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