Shield match bid hit for six

A POTENTIAL clash with an AFL pre-season match has torpedoed Albury Council’s hopes of hosting a Sheffield Shield cricket match this summer.

The council has been forced to withdraw its interest in hosting a match at Lavington because of a possible clash of dates with the AFL’S NAB Challenge.

Albury has already formally committed to its bid for an AFL game.

Albury City’s director of tourism and economic development, Tracey Squire, said the council was bound by that commitment.

The AFL will announce successful tenders on August 15, meaning Albury still isn’t assured of hosting a top-line sporting fixture.

“The council has already submitted a tender to host an AFL NAB Cup match at the Lavington Sports Ground in March,” Squire said.

“At this stage, we need to keep the arena available in the event we are a successful venue.

“Unfortunately the tight turnaround between the proposed matches means that the Lavington Sports Ground can’t be prepared in time to host both events.”

However, the council has made the venue available as a contingency arena for Cricket Victoria should it be unsuccessful in securing an AFL NAB Cup match.

Cricket Victoria officials toured Lavington Oval recently and were more than happy with the facilities.

It is believed Wangaratta, Geelong and Bendigo are still being considered as potential venues.

“Unfortunately the timelines haven’t worked out on this occasion,” Squire said.

“The council will continue working with Cricket Victoria, Cricket NSW and the Albury-Wodonga Cricket Association to explore ways we can attract Sheffield Shield cricket to the region, particularly in the 2015 pre-Christmas period.”