CRICKET Australia has today announced Bendigo will host the 2015 Commonwealth Bank Australian Country Cricket Championships.
The six-team competition featuring Western Australia, New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and the ICC East Asia Pacific will be played from 5-12 January 2015.
It will be the second time Bendigo has hosted the annual championships.
Teams will play two-day, one-day and Twenty20 matches across the week-long championships with Western Australia looking to defend its title won in Canberra earlier this year.
Cricket Australia executive general manager, game and market development Andrew Ingleton said the championships would provide an important opportunity for regional cricketers.
“The Commonwealth Bank Australian Country Cricket Championships is central in acknowledging and celebrating the significance of country cricket," he said.
“Country cricket continues to be a tremendous nursery for talented young players.
"Regional Australia plays a critical role in Australia’s success on the world stage.
“A number of international players including Michael Bevan, Andy Bichel and Shaun Tait have also participated in these country championships and gone on to successful international careers.
“In making today’s announcement, we acknowledge in particular the support provided by the Commonwealth Bank, as well as the enthusiasm of the City of Greater Bendigo in securing hosting rights to next January’s championships.”
City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Cr Barry Lyons said the 2015 tournament would be another sporting coup for Bendigo.
“The city is working hard to attract sporting and other major events to our region," he said.
“We have got terrific facilities and infrastructure and we are definitely getting the runs on the board and forming excellent working relationships with major Australian sporting organisations such as Cricket Australia.
“This is expected to have a significant economic impact on our local economy and is also a fantastic opportunity for our own residents to watch the best country cricketers from around our nation right here in their own backyard."
Victorian Minister for Sport and Recreation Damian Drum congratulated Bendigo on being awarded host of the championships.
"Well done to the City of Greater Bendigo on securing the Australian Country Cricket Championships for 2015," he said.