THE first ever Big Bash League game to be held at the C.ex Coffs International Stadium was a historic moment for Coffs Harbour sport.
The Sydney Sixers and Adelaide Strikers put on a show for local fans last January as the spectacle of world-class T20 cricket entertained nearly 10,000 spectators.
Flash forward a year, and the spectre of COVID-19 meant the cancellation of the Sydney Sixers vs Brisbane Heat match initially scheduled to be played earlier this month in Coffs Harbour.
Now the Big Bash is a possibility to return to Coffs Harbour in the next BBL season thanks to a grant from the NSW Government.
Coffs Harbour has secured a $100,000 grant from the NSW Government in its efforts to host another Big Bash League match at C.ex Coffs International Stadium in the 2021-22 BBL season..
Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said hosting another Big Bash match would reinforce Coffs Harbour’s reputation as a sport and major events capital.
“Cricket on the Coffs Coast is very strong and this year has been no exception as we’re seeing constantly competitive matches all the way from kids’ cricket to first grade,” he said.
“Hosting another Big Bash event here in Coffs will be a massive win for our economy, attracting visitors who will spend money locally, injecting cash into the tills of local businesses.
“But the highlight will be the look on the faces of local kids as they watch their Big Bash heroes and dream of following in their footsteps. I congratulate our city council on this funding allocation.”
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the NSW Government is committed to supporting cricket in regional NSW and bringing a fixture to Coffs Harbour will be a chance for locals to see their heroes live in action.
“As Aussies we love our cricket and this is particularly true in Coffs Harbour where a large social network often revolves around the local cricket club,” he said.
“T20 cricket has given new life to the game, keeping kids interested and attracting new fans. Now locals in Coffs Harbour will get a chance to once again see a live BBL fixture in their hometown thanks to this funding from the NSW Government.”
Acting Minister for Sport Geoff Lee said the NSW Government was pleased to support Coffs Harbour’s efforts to host a game after the success of the first game in BBL09.
“Last year C.ex Coffs International Stadium was packed to the rafters with cricket fans cheering on the Sixers as they belted the Adelaide Strikers to all parts of the ground,” he said.
“Following the success of that game, the NSW Government was happy to support Coffs Harbour’s efforts to host a second game in 2021-22 which would provide great economic benefits to the region.”
Sydney Sixers star Josh Philippe was player of the match when his side beat the Adelaide Strikers in Coffs Harbour.
The Sixers top batsman said he would love the chance to return to play in Coffs Harbour.
“We really enjoyed our time in Coffs Harbour and that was topped off by winning the game in front of awesome fans,” he said.
“The pitch at C.ex Coffs International Stadium was one of the best we played on all year and I’d love to play on it again in coming seasons if the opportunity was there.”
The $100,000 grant from Round 3 of the NSW ICC T20 World Cup Cricket Legacy Fund is part of the $2 million awarded to clubs and councils across NSW.
The Fund aims to support the growth of cricket participation and ensure a lasting legacy from NSW’s matches during the women’s and men’s T20 World Cups.
By Aiden BURGESS