Festival of Cricket defended
THE local cricket community has come out and defended the Festival of Cricket despite it causing a massive financial drain for Lismore taxpayers.
As reported in yesterday’s Northern Star, a report to be tabled on Tuesday reveals Lismore City Council recorded a $168,000 loss on the week-long event.
But Lismore District Cricket Association assistant secretary and co-ordinator Norm Ryder said the event was ‘worth it in the end’.
“You have to look at the overall thing,” he said. “You might lose out in one way but the town wins in others, and the town would have made a fair bit out of it.”
Timing was also a critical issue, with the event scheduled at the same time as the Masters Games, the Lismore Spring Racing Carnival and an uninvited dust storm that left the town painted red.
“With the Masters Games and that on it wasn’t an ideal time,” Ryder conceded. “But the festival would have to be in September before they (State teams) go away.”
LJ Hooker League Tintenbar-East Ballina player Brett Crawford said the festival was ‘not good for ratepayers’ but was good for the local cricket-loving community.
“It was certainly good cricket but there just wasn’t many spectators there,” he said. “It was run pretty well so I don’t think they can do much more except get more people to attend.”
Ryder said ticket prices may have caused the lacklustre attendance.
“I thought ticket prices were too high, they need to be more realistic,” he said. “I’m disappointed people didn’t turn up. They missed some very good cricket and you don’t get to see that every day.”
However, Lismore City Council events manager John Bancroft felt ticket prices were adequate.
“That’s rubbish that ticket prices were too high, it’s cheaper than going to the movies,” he said.
Bancroft also said the financial loss and whether Lismore will host the festival again would be discussed at the next meeting.
“It’s definitely a council matter for next Tuesday’s meeting,” he said.
But despite the financial loss, Bancroft agreed with Ryder and Crawford and said the festival was beneficial to the region and local sport.
Ryder and Crawford hope the Festival of Cricket will return to Lismore. “It boosted the profile of the Lismore area,” Crawford said.
“I know they’re keen to come back,” Ryder said.
Meanwhile, the LJ Hooker League’s one-day games begin from this weekend. Casino Golf Club Cavaliers play Marist Brothers at Queen Elizabeth Park, Casino, and South Tweed Colts are up against Murwillumbah at Dave Burns Field.
Brunswick/Byron will play Pottsville at Thompson Oval, Brunswick Heads, Southern Districts take on Lismore Workers at Oakes Oval, and Lennox Head will challenge Alstonville at home on Meegan Crescent.
Ballina Bears clash with Terranora Lakes at Fripp Oval, Ballina, and Cudgen play Tintenbar-East Ballina at Reg Dalton Oval.