History will be written no matter which club wins the 2017-2018 Health Care Insurance CNW 1st Grade Grand Final, with the game to be played at the Latrobe Recreation Ground for the first time.
The decision is a break from the stranglehold that the Devonport Oval and Burnie’s West Park has had on Coastal cricket’s showpiece event.
With West Park currently out of action due to resurfacing and drainage work, the CNW Board made the call to engage a new venue upon advice from its grounds committee and reports from captains and umpires throughout the season.
CNW president Shane Crawford said the Latrobe ground had fully earned its call-up.
“From the Board’s position the Latrobe ground has been very good for a number of years and this year we believe it’s been maintained at a high level,” he said.
“The ground hosted the RACT Greater Northern Cup final in January where both the pitch and outfield were excellent, along with the general amenities around the ground.
“We’ve looked at the square and looked at what pitches are available for the rest of the season, and we’re confident they will produce a competitive wicket for the grand final.”
The Devonport Oval has predominantly held the grand final since they were instigated in the lead-up to the 1955-1956 season, and had been on a rotation with West Park since 2010-2011 up until last season where clubs were invited to submit an application to host the game.
Crawford said the ground, which hosted Sheffield Shield games and a One-Day International during the 1980s had fallen behind Latrobe.
“The Devonport Oval was discussed as part of our deliberations but we believe Latrobe has probably gone past Devonport this season,” Crawford said.
“The ground has clearly had some concerns with their outfield and a fungal condition and the scores there have traditionally been a bit lower this season.
“Taking into account all those things, we believed Latrobe was the best option.”
The decision to use Latrobe is also rich reward for club curator Ray Read, who originally retired at the start of the season only to asked back after the Demons were seeking a replacement for their overseas player who had to return home.
“Ray has put in a tireless amount of work for the Latrobe Cricket Club in preparing the wicket and now he’ll have the opportunity to produce his first Grand Final wicket,” Crawford said.
Crawford added that having Latrobe in the mix now for grand finals was great for attracting other forms of cricket.
“Ultimately we want all our venues to improve in terms of infrastructure and standard and this clearly shows that Latrobe have done that,” Crawford said.
“It’s better for us to have strong venues and they’ve certainly opened up the options for higher level cricket on the North-West Coast.”
The CNW grand final will be played from March 23-25.
Story courtesy Brad Cole, The Advocate. Photo courtesy The Advocate.