Wagga’s second chance to host a Sheffield Shield match since 2015 has been lost due to substandard pitch conditions.
NSW was scheduled to play Tasmania at Wagga in November.
However, Wagga City Council general manager Peter Thompson announced on Wednesday that the match would now be played in Sydney.
“We had some sad news today about the cricket,” he said,
“Council has been endeavouring to prepare the wicket, however, largely as we don’t have a specialist curator in our staff, we haven’t come up to the grade we needed for the Sheffield Shield and the Futures League
“For this year, they have been withdrawn back to Sydney.”
Mr Thompson said were some promising signs for the wicket ahead of a North Sydney match, but as the events were so close, the council had to “do the right thing” and cancel.
Wagga cricket coach Warren Smith said the decision was “very disappointing” and the council should have brought someone in from Sydney to restore the wicket.
“Here's a place of 75,000 people and three test players- Slater, Taylor and Lawson- and we can’t get a Shield,” Mr Smith said.
“I just think it’s not on, as far as I’m concerned.”
Last month Wagga mayor Greg Conkey said the Sheffield Shield deal would be a great coup for the city.
“It is very exciting to have them back in town...we are a rural and regional sporting capital,” Cr Conkey said.
On Wednesday, Mr Thompson said the council would try again for next season.
“We certainly aim to get those matches next year , but we need to make sure we have the ability to prepare the pitches to the standard they need,” Mr Thompson said.
“That is where we failed this year.”
Mr Smith said losing the Shield would damage Wagga’s reputation.
“I think we’re called ‘The City of Good Sports’ but we ain’t. Nobody cares about it,” he said,
“All the kids were expecting the Shield to be here; that’s pretty ordinary.”
When Wagga last hosted a Sheffield Shield match in 2015, NSW defeated Victoria.
Late last month, Wagga councillors approved a deal with NSW Cricket to provide $10,000 in in-kind services and $12,000 in actual costs to secure the cricket matches.
The incentives for NSW Cricket included $2240 in fee waivers for the use of Robertson Oval and the Oasis Aquatic Centre.