Cricket: Newcastle, Hunter 'in the mix' to host Australian Country Championships over next two years

BACK: Newcastle representative squad member Brendon Charlton was player of the final with Toronto in 2018-19. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
BACK: Newcastle representative squad member Brendon Charlton was player of the final with Toronto in 2018-19. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Newcastle District Cricket Association (NDCA) chairman Paul Marjoribanks said it would be "tremendous" if the Australian Country Championships returned to the region.

Newcastle (men) and the Hunter (women) are "in the mix" to host the national titles either this summer or next with Cricket Australia currently "reviewing" the situation.

Original holders South Australia recently turned down the opportunity to have the annual tournament in the Barossa Valley during early January, which means organisers are trying to find an alternative location.

Returning to Queensland city Toowoomba, where matches took place earlier this year, is one option while Newcastle and the Hunter is another with NSW, due to host in 2022, being promoted up the list.

The ongoing coronavirus crisis means there is no certainty the competition will go ahead as planned in 2021, however, the region should stay in contention for 12 months down the track.

"Newcastle and the Hunter are in the mix for the male and female tournament," Marjoribanks said. "It would be tremendous, but at this stage Cricket Australia have it under review."

No.1 Sportsground would likely be out of action because of planned upgrades, which are due to start later this year, but ovals such as Waratah, Harker, Cahill, Lynn and Ron Hill could all house men's fixtures along with the new Pasterfield complex at Cameron Park.

"I think all of our main grounds would be up to standard," he said.

Raymond Terrace, Robins Oval and Lorn Park would be potential candidates for women's games.

Newcastle last hosted the tournament in 1992-93, which featured an Australian Country XI play against the touring West Indies squad.

Meanwhile, NDCA has announced a 35-man representative squad to start pre-season training at Hunter Sports High School from August 22.

Charlestown leg-spinner Daniel Chillingworth is back from Sydney while youngsters like Jospeh Gillard, Angus McTaggert and Rory Maddison get a chance.

Bush Blues trio Nick Foster, Josh Geary and Aaron Wivell are all going around again.

Andy Sommerville (Army), Jeff Goninan (WA) and Kain Anderson (Sydney) were the main departures.

No dates have been officially released for tournaments but Newcastle are the defending NSW Country champions while Lake Mac Attack claimed the statewide T20 Regional Bash.

The 2020-21 first grade season is set to start on October 11.

Lower grades, including the new Suburban Districts competition approved at the NDCA annual general meeting last week, may kick off later the same month with winter codes extended because of recent coronavirus delays.

REP SQUAD: Jacob Montgomery, Rhys Hanlon, Nathan Price, Josh Westwood, Marcus Hainsworth, Ryan Van Kemenade, Daniel Arms, Nick Foster, Corey Brown, Ben Balcomb, Josh Geary, Jack Hartigan, Joseph Gillard, Zac McGuigan, James King, Dan Bailey, Nathan Hudson, Isaac Wallace, Aaron Bills, Matthew Willett, Rory Maddison, Pat Magann, Mitch Lole, Brad Aldous, Angus McTaggart, Daniel Chillingworth, Adrian Chad, Jonty Durrheim, Aidan Cahill, Brendon Charlton, Sam Holding, Joe Hart, Matthew Bench, Tom Dwyer, Aaron Wivell.

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This story Cricket: Newcastle, Hunter 'in the mix' to host Australian Country Championships first appeared on Newcastle Herald.