Mackay hosts Sheffield Shield cricket match
FIRST class cricket will return to Central Queensland this summer with Mackay to host the my Foot Dr Queensland Bulls in a Bupa Sheffield Shield match in December.
The Bulls will face the New South Wales Blues at Harrup Park from December 6-9, the first time a Sheffield Shield match has been played in the region.
The clash will be Mackay's second major domestic match held during the 2015-16 season with the Queensland Academy of Sport also announced to play Tasmania in a Toyota Futures League game from October 19 - 22.
Mackay last hosted first-class cricket in 1995 when Queensland played a tour match against Sri Lanka, while the Bulls most recently played in the Central Queensland city in a one-day fixture against Tasmania in October 2011.
Queensland Cricket's CEO Geoff Cockerill paid tribute to the impact that regional areas such as Mackay have had in the growth and success of cricket in the State, while also emphasising the importance of giving regional fans the opportunity to watch some of the finest players in the country play in their backyard.
"Regional Queensland has long been a breeding ground for players representing their State and country and it is great that we can help recognise their contribution by bringing two quality games to Mackay. Cricket participation has been steadily increasing in recent years and we now have 232,000 people playing our game in Queensland, 52% of which are from regional areas, so fans out here certainly deserve to see our State's best teams play.
"Mackay has a proud history of hosting major sporting events and we believe they have the facilities and curators to help produce two quality games of cricket.
"Queensland Cricket would also like to acknowledge the efforts of the Mackay Regional Council and the Mackay Cricket Association who have worked together to bring both games to the region," Cockerill said.
Mackay Regional Council's Sport, Recreation and Facilities portfolio councillor Paul Steindl said today's announcement was a huge coup for Harrup Park and Mackay.
"The people of our region will be very excited by the prospect of being able to watch the state's best players compete in what should be two great games. The fact that the Sheffield Shield match will be between Queensland and New South Wales makes it even more special as it will have that Origin-like rivalry,'' Cr Steindl said.
Cr Steindl said such events would put Mackay on the map as a cricket venue.
"We also currently have the Bulls Masters in town for their Country Challenge. We're confident all of these events will showcase Mackay's credentials to host more elite cricket matches in the future. It is worth remembering there is a Bangladesh tour of Australia in September 2017, so we're keen to show our wares in the meantime," he continued.
Mackay Regional Council's Tourism and Economic Development portfolio councillor Greg Martin said support was provided through council's Invest Mackay Events Attraction Program, to help provide an economic stimulus for the region.
The Bulls get their 2015-16 season underway on Monday when the Matador Cup begins in Sydney, with their first Sheffield Shield match to start on October 27 against Victoria in Melbourne.