AT THE CREASE: Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell with Australian Ashes Test player Stuart Clark.
AT THE CREASE: Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell with Australian Ashes Test player Stuart Clark. Courtesy Lismore City Council

Festival warms up cricketers

LISMORE'S Festival of Cricket is providing vital last-minute training to the Victorian and New South Wales teams before flying out to India for the international Twenty/20 competition on October 8, Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell said yesterday.

Cr Dowell said the world-class cricketers were happy to be playing competitive cricket in Lismore this week.

“We have so many top players here almost in training for that very lucrative competition,” Cr Dowell said.

The competition between Victoria, NSW and Tasmania kicked off on Tuesday and ends on September 29.

She said crowd numbers at Lismore's Oakes Oval were building every day.

Cr Dowell and the rest of Lismore City Council, which has stumped up about $200,000 for the event, will be hoping those numbers grow quite a bit after a disappointing turn-out on Tuesday and yesterday, with only 800 people through the gate each day.

“The expectation and hope is that crowds will be big for the weekend,” Cr Dowell said.

“It is normal for crowds to be slow at first. It needs to build up and it's important to have these games before the weekend.”

Cr Dowell said the scores were great and there was a lot of action.

“There are many sixes and fours being hit and when news of that spreads, people will come,” she said.

Cr Dowell said she hoped the Festival of Cricket 'would break even'.

“But there is more to a carnival like this than just making money,” she said.

“It is about engendering enthusiasm and showing off our facilities to attract future games.”

She said all the players she spoke to at yesterday's mayoral reception were delighted with the oval and loved being here.

“We are showing off our facilities to three states, that means we'll be in the running for more of these kinds of games.”

Event coordinator John Bancroft, said he was confident the council would recoup its costs.

“I must admit I thought there would be more here the first couple of nights but we know that our weekend pre-sales are very strong so we're not too worried about it,” he said.

“I'm more worried that people are missing out on some good stuff.”

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