Ballarat Cricket Association announce plans for Twenty20 night competition

Ballarat Cricket Association has forecast its plans to implement a standalone Twenty20 competition to be played under the Friday night lights.

The proposed competition is still in its early stages but would be separate to the regular BCA fixture which T20 has been a part of in recent years.

Ballarat Cricket Association Operations Officer Greg Wakeling said it made sense to utilize the outstanding facilities Ballarat has at its disposal. With the region boasting five grounds with the ability to host night cricket matches. The Northern Oval, Wendouree Oval, Darley Park, Mount Clear Reserve and Alfredton Oval all providing a range of options for the BCA.

Wakeling was hopeful of gaining interest from 10 to 12 clubs which would see six weekly matches – some of which would fall onto a Thursday night or Sunday fixture but the majority would be played on the Friday night stage.

Wakeling is confident it will be a positive move for cricket in the region given the rapidly growing interest in the shortest form of the game.

“We want to do something different with the game in Ballarat. There’s not to many regional associations that have the facilities that we do in Ballarat and we want to utilize those facilities to the maximum,” Wakeling said.

“We’ve got support from the council to say night cricket is a great idea.

“Traditionally it’s a little bit difficult to get people going to watch cricket but we’re looking to build a bit of interest. We’re hoping to get people that might not normally watch to go up and have a look and increase the exposure.”

Wakeling was confident of gaining sponsorship for the competition which would allow it to provide prize money and therefore extra incentive for clubs given there will be no benefit to its regular home and away season. The other draw card being the opportunity for the winner to continue its path towards a Twenty20 state final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The winner of the T20 competition would move into a Central Highlands region competition with the next step being the Cricket Willow grand final to be played on Australia Day, with the victorious team advancing to the state final at the MCG.

Clubs have the choice to nominate given the competition is not associated with the regular season.