THE Bendigo District Cricket Association is expected to give the QEO the green light to host this year’s first XI grand final.
BDCA president Wayne Walsh said the ground and, more importantly, the pitch had come through a heavy workload during last week’s Country Week carnival with flying colours.
“I spoke to a number of teams that played on the QEO last week and they were very happy with the ground and how the pitch played,’’ Walsh said yesterday.
“The outfield is in great condition and that was never going to be a problem, but we wanted to make sure the pitch played well. Ferntree Gully played on the QEO three times last week and they were very happy with how the pitch played.
“The council has put in a lot of work and will continue to put in a lot of work in the next few weeks.
“The pitch has improved significantly from last year. We’d expect to make a decision in the next two weeks or so, but at the moment everything is looking good.”
Bendigo United has hosted the past two first XI grand finals at Harry Trott Oval.
While both of those grand finals were a success, Walsh said the league would love to return its showcase game to the home of the Bendigo sport.
“I think every player in Bendigo would love to play a grand final on the QEO,’’ Walsh said.
“If the conditions are going to suit good cricket then the grand final will be there.”
The centre wicket area, which has a better coverage of grass now compared to this time last summer, will receive a freshen up of sorts in the next fortnight.
No BDCA matches will be played on the ground in the next two Saturdays, but one representative game between Bendigo and Ballarat is scheduled for this Sunday.
With Weeroona Oval out of action following this round, the QEO will be used by Sandhurst for the final two home and away rounds.
Walsh confirmed yesterday that teams which finish first and second on the ladder at the end of the home and away season will earn the right to use their home ground as a semi-final venue.
“If the teams that finish first or second don’t want to use their home ground then the league will decide where the game is played,’’ Walsh said.
Strathdale and Bendigo United look set to finish first and second in the first XI competition where they are most likely to choose Bell Oval and Harry Trott Oval respectively as their semi-final venues.