BATTING ON: CAW on the attack to attract Sheffield Shield match

CRICKET Albury-Wodonga is refusing to give up hope of hosting a Sheffield Shield match early next year.

While Wangaratta’s Norm Minns Oval is believed to be the preferred option if it misses out on an AFL pre-season match, Cricket Victoria officials inspected Tallangatta’s Rowen Park facilities last week as a potential back-up plan.

Tallangatta’s pitch is widely regarded as being one of the best in country Victoria, with its facilities undergoing a $1.85 million upgrade earlier this year.

North Albury’s Bunton Park and Birallee Park in Wodonga have also been mooted as possible venues for a four-day match but appear longshots.

Cricket Albury-Wodonga chairman Michael Erdeljac said the competition hadn’t given up hope of bringing top-class cricket to the Border despite Albury Council’s recent decision to withdraw its interest in hosting a match at Lavington Oval because of a possible clash of dates with the AFL.

“I’m not going to go into the specifics of where a match could be played, but we are still looking at venues to host a Sheffield Shield match,” Erdeljac said.

“We haven’t given up.

“I’m a big believer in bringing top-class cricket to the region and no stone is being left unturned in doing that.

“We will keep chipping away.”

Five boxes must be ticked to host a match, with the top priority being a pitch capable of holding up for four days.

Geelong and Bendigo are also being considered as potential venues.

Victoria is yet to decide venues for its final three ­Sheffield Shield home matches against Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania, with the clash against the Bulls the most likely to be played on the

Border or North East.

The AFL will announce ­the winning bids for its NAB Challenge matches on August 15.

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