Canberra's BBL hopes might not be in limbo for long

NEWS: The crowd during the T20 Big Bash League at Manuka oval in Canberra where Sydney Sixers take on Perth Scorchers. 28th January 2015. Photo by Melissa Adams of. The Canberra Times.
NEWS: The crowd during the T20 Big Bash League at Manuka oval in Canberra where Sydney Sixers take on Perth Scorchers. 28th January 2015. Photo by Melissa Adams of. The Canberra Times.

The prayers of Canberra cricket fans could be answered within a week as the Sydney Thunder edge closer to locking in a Big Bash League fixture at Manuka Oval.

Canberra's hopes of securing a BBL game remain in limbo but Thunder general manager Lee Germon is hopeful of finalising a deal the ACT government in the next seven days.

There has been little movement since Australian cricket's new memorandum of understanding was struck, which had both parties in a holding pattern, but Germon is still hopeful of signing off on a deal.

The Thunder are yet to announce a venue for their fifth home game against the Melbourne Renegades on January 24 with Manuka Oval a clear favourite.

Thunder director of cricket Michael Hussey has already thrown his weight behind playing a game in Canberra and Germon suggests the Australian Test legend could soon get his wish.

"It's an agreement that is obviously a new one between Cricket NSW, Sydney Thunder and the government," Germon said.

"It's just really making sure all parties involved - including Cricket Australia, so it's a three-way conversation - are comfortable with where it gets to.

"That just requires backwards and forwards movement. I'm not concerned about it at the moment, we're just progressing and trying to get it done as quickly as we can so we can make a call."

The Thunder were also considering playing their fifth home game at their regular venue in western Sydney following a series of massive crowds last season, but Manuka Oval firmed as the favourite.

The ACT government was forced to dig into its own pockets to help secure a BBL game in the capital but Germon says the delay hasn't been caused by a game of deal or no deal.

"It's not the funding side that's standing out, it's just making sure all parties are able to get what they need within the contract to hold a Big Bash match there," Germon said.

"I'm not overly concerned about it, it's just working our way through to make sure it meets all parties expectations. I think we'll get there, it's just a case of working positively towards that."

Germon says there isn't a deadline on a deal being struck with all parties working "with goodwill" that they will nail an agreement that benefits all parties.

Canberra could host a double header with the Thunder still looking to confirm WBBL venues for home fixtures on December 12, 16, 22 and 23, and January 24.

The ACT government is desperate to secure Canberra's first BBL match since the BBL|04 final as they look to make up for the capital being left off the men's international schedule.

Canberra was squeezed out of the men's international schedule for the upcoming Ashes summer despite being midway through a four-year deal to have international cricket played at Manuka Oval.

However Canberra will host two women's Ashes matches in November and Cricket ACT boss Cameron French has launched an ambitious plan to pack out Manuka Oval for the two Twenty20 fixtures.

This story Canberra's BBL hopes might not be in limbo for long first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.