STRATHDALE-Maristians or Eaglehawk should have no concerns about having to bat on the Queen Elizabeth Oval wicket tomorrow in the Bendigo District Cricket Association grand final.
That’s the message from City of Greater Bendigo sports fields team leader Roger Barbetti ahead of this weekend’s first XI grand final between the Suns and Hawks at the QEO.
Since the QEO was announced as the first XI grand final venue last month, there has been a concern among the cricket fraternity that such is the tendency for the wicket to dry out and crumble, it will be a nightmare to bat on the second day and the grand final could be won at the toss of the coin.
However, Barbetti believes whichever team is batting on day two tomorrow won’t have any cause for concern.
“We appreciate the amount of concern and interest from the cricket users, and we’ve prepared the wicket with that in mind,” Barbetti said yesterday.
“Kangaroo Flat won last week batting second at the QEO (second XI semi-final), and a few weeks ago in a second XI game Golden Square chased down a score at the QEO batting on the Sunday, so from that, I don’t think the condition of the wicket has affected results.
“We do prepare it a little differently to some of the other wickets because it is a rapidly drying wicket with a high clay content in the soil.”
The Bendigo Advertiser inspected the QEO wicket at 11.30am yesterday, where the pitch was moist and soft.
However, Barbetti is confident that by noon today when the first ball is bowled, the pitch will be hard and a good cricket wicket.
“Today is a good drying day, and after we get the heavy roller on it, you could play on it tonight,” Barbetti said yesterday.
“I’ve got no worries about getting it up to scratch by game time tomorrow.
“We’ve got all today to work on it and tomorrow morning, so it’s going to come up well.”
The outfield is in good condition and was yesterday cut for the third time this week to a length of 15mm.
“There has been a lot of good work by our staff and close communication with the BDCA in getting the preparations right for this weekend,” Barbetti said.
“The ground is going to be in good condition for, hopefully, a good spectacle on Saturday and Sunday.”
This weekend will be the first grand final in the first XI at the QEO since Bendigo United defeated Kangaroo Flat by six wickets in 2007-08 on what was a seaming green-top wicket.