Remember hugging at the cricket? The Sixers put on a show last January when they came to C.ex Stadium in Coffs Harbour. Photo: Jason O'Brien / AAP
Remember hugging at the cricket? The Sixers put on a show last January when they came to C.ex Stadium in Coffs Harbour. Photo: Jason O'Brien / AAP

Covid takes another wicket as Big Bash canned

A FIXTURE shake-up has led to Coffs Harbour missing out on its much anticipated Big Bash League match.

The coronavirus is central to Cricket Australia's decision to shelve plans to host the Sydney Sixers and Brisbane heat at C.ex Stadium in January as it looks to limit player movement across the BBL season.

The entire fixture list was rewritten leading to big wins for Tasmania and Canberra's cricket fans who will be treated to multiple matches in the first half of the season.

Cricket NSW's Martin Garoni said the current coronavirus conditions made it too difficult to retain the match which had proven so successful earlier in the year.

A buckethead enjoys the magic of a Big Bash match in Coffs Harbour earlier this year.
A buckethead enjoys the magic of a Big Bash match in Coffs Harbour earlier this year.

"The Sydney Sixers were stoked with the response from the local community last season and we are disappointed we can't bring the game back in 2021," he said.

"But we are working closely with Coffs Harbour City Council to ensure we get the game back here for next season."

Coffs Harbour City Council's Section Leader for Stadium and Major Events, Dan Heather, said while it was disappointing, the decision was not totally unexpected given the amount of disruption coronavirus had caused.

"It is unfortunate we will miss out in 2021 but the strategy for the Sixers (long term) is to have Coffs Harbour as their regional base," he said.

"We are setting our sights to 2022 and to bringing it back next season."

Sydney Sixers player Jordan Silk takes a moment to reflect on the tragic situation at fire ravaged Nymboida during a team visit ahead of their BBL09 fixture with Adelaide Strikers at C.Ex International Stadium in Coffs Harbour on Sunday, 5th January, 2019.
Sydney Sixers player Jordan Silk takes a moment to reflect on the tragic situation at fire ravaged Nymboida during a team visit ahead of their BBL09 fixture with Adelaide Strikers at C.Ex International Stadium in Coffs Harbour on Sunday, 5th January, 2019.

READ MORE: Sydney Sixers show class on and off field

Mr Heather said the decision was in no way a reflection on the region's ability to put on successful sporting events and was simply about reducing players exposure outside their respective bubbles.

He added that the recent Oztag NSW Senior State Cup had been a great success and had shown Coffs Harbour was capable of hosting big tournaments in a covidsafe way.

The carnival attracted 3000 players and was designed in such a way that it ensured no more than 500 people would be in each competition zone inside the Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Park.

Action from the Oztag 2020 NSW Senior State Cup at the Coffs Coast Sporting Complex. Photo: David Wigley
Action from the Oztag 2020 NSW Senior State Cup at the Coffs Coast Sporting Complex. Photo: David Wigley

"A lot of work went into the competition and it wasn't a plan developed overnight," he said.

"It was a plan worked on gradually and had been revised with the public health orders, but putting it into practice was the real test, so to see it work so seamlessly was pretty impressive."

"The guys at the venue did a great job and the Oztag tournament controllers did a great job, everyone knew what the goal was and it was run really tight."

Mr Garoni reminded people that registrations for community cricket programs were still being taken due to this season's late start.

He encouraged anyone who interested in playing to playcricket.com.au.

"Especially around Cricket Blast, our entry level program, there are lots of opportunities for kids to sign up and play cricket in the coming season," he said.

"They can go to the website, pop in their postcode and find out where they can have a hit of cricket for the coming season."



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