LISMORE City Council officers are expecting to sign a memorandum of understanding within a month to ensure the Festival of Cricket returns to Lismore’s Oakes Oval this year.
The festival included State teams NSW, Victoria and Tasmania in a nine-day tournament featuring one-day and Twenty20 matches last September as a warm-up to the inaugural Twenty20 Champions League.
The council was the promoter for the event and for a number of reasons, including a packed sporting September and two dust storms, the festival bombed financially to the tune of $168,000.
However, the council voted in December to continue with the venture, albeit in a streamlined way.
Council events co-ordinator John Bancroft said the council had been in talks with NSW, Tasmania and Victoria to return this year for a shorter version of the event.
“We’re in discussions about the timing part of the tournament, and we’re due to meet in Sydney in the next two to three weeks,” he said.
“We’re also discussing the memorandum of understanding and the financial issues.
“It will definitely be a shorter event. We’re in negotiations, but we’re looking at a four- to five-day event.
“It could be that we have a couple of one-dayers and a few Twenty20 double-headers, but I’m just giving examples.”
There is still uncertainty about when the Champions League tournament in India will be held this year, so scheduling for the Festival of Cricket is also up in the air.
NSW, who went on to win the Champions League just weeks after the Lismore event last year, has failed to qualify for the lucrative subcontinent tournament after Victoria and South Australia proved to be the dominant Australian teams this summer.
However, despite NSW missing out, Mr Bancroft said the same three teams would play at Lismore for the pre-season hit-out.