Ponting helps debut cricket at Aurora

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Last Wednesday night saw Aurora Stadium in Launceston host its first ever cricket match on their brand new drop-in pitch.

The local crowds flocked in, excited by the prospect of seeing Ricky Ponting steal the show, as the Aussie 15’s format was debuted. 

Ponting told The Examiner that wicket is “fantastic”.

“The whole stadium and facilities here are as good as anywhere we play cricket so there’s nothing wrong with that. 

“We’ve just got to keep promoting it the way we are and get the wicket and playing surface at its absolute best and there’s no reason why big games can’t come here.

“I can’t pick many faults with the whole night,” he said. 

Former Tasmanian state cricket coach, Tim Coyle was the brains behind the new concept, which sees each team sporting 15 players, with each player facing a maximum of 15 balls and 15 overs per side in total. 

Tim says the concept was really born out of the fact that the local council dropped a wicket in at Aurora Stadium. 

“We got to thinking what we could do and one of the motivators behind this was to actually give club cricket some recognition and give our local club players the opportunity to play in front of people.

 “Hopefully that injects a bit of interest at a community level into our cricket.”

Tim came up with the rules along with some other people who took their inspiration from other games around the world.

“As we get used to it [the format] it should just get better and hopefully over the four weeks we will see some exciting cricket. 

“We didn’t really get a chance to play the rules and test them, but it is okay there doesn’t seem to be too much confusion out there, the ground looks fantastic, the new areas to hitting zones are great, all in all there weren’t too many concerns.

“Our media partners have been fantastic, as have the staff at the stadium. 

“We rely so heavily on the wicket being good and they have put in a lot of work in trying conditions over the last three weeks and it has played exceptionally well.

“It is a good wicket, a really good wicket.” 

Rob Groenewegen, the Manager of Aurora Stadium says that the process of creating this game has been fantastic due to the highly skilled people that have been on board with it. 

“The boys have been terrific.

“We are probably playing cricket a bit before we would normally on a drop in wicket, but that aside from that, it has been pretty smooth to be honest. 

“I have been most excited about the fact that Ricky Ponting decided he was going to play, that just really meant we were guaranteed to have a great audience.”

John Keddy is one of the groundsman at Aurora Stadium and has been highly involved with the installation and maintenance of the drop in wicket.

He says it has been a process of trying to establish the couch but also trying to prepare the wicket at the same time, which has caused a bit of a juggling act!

“We have done a lot of rolling and diagonal rolling in the lead up to the game.

“I suppose it is a bit of a challenge being couch in our climate, as we typically have ryegrass wickets in Tasmania so trying to establish that and get good coverage has been a challenge. 

“The watering has also been a balancing act, being a brand new wicket and trying to get a lot of hardness in it we didn’t want it to be too wet.

“So we had to try and get it to a state where it was nice and hard for the first game. 

“The boys are saying it is skidding on a fair bit and there are no demons in the wicket so I am really happy about that. 

“The important thing is now that we try and make it last for four weeks consistent play all the way through.

“We are very fortunate that the Launceston City Council have been able to support this wicket here. It is not something that happens every day and we are very privileged to be a part of it.”