NEW regional cricket facilities at Scone's Bill Rose Sports Complex, totalling almost $400,000, are expected to bring 4000 participants a year to play, many from outside the Upper Hunter.
The shire now boasts a high-quality centre to meet the needs of local junior and senior competitions, as well as the requirements of Cricket NSW.
Between the Upper Hunter District Cricket Association and Upper Hunter District Junior Cricket Association, they lay claim to more than 420 registered players.
Other groups such as Hunter Valley, Central North and schools have expressed an interest in using the upgraded facilities, too.
Representatives from those organisations, as well as Cricket NSW, were on hand to christen the centre on Friday, July 31, along with many talented youngsters.
The state-of-the-art amenities should also attract representative games to the region such as Country Cup, Regional Big Bash and junior carnivals, with one already being planned for 2020.
The previous nets and Shepherd Oval pitch were overdue for upgrades and the new six-wicket cricket nets and replacement pitch have already been welcomed by the user groups.
The old MacCallum nets were replaced with high-quality six-wicket facilities to meet current standards including a fully-enclosed synthetic surface, retractable safety netting, and appropriate marking for all junior competitions.
Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen said the newly-completed facility would now be in position to become a local training hub in the region, as well as host competitions for the Hunter Valley, Central North and Cricket NSW.
"As a local resident and fan of the sport, I am thrilled the government has been able to deliver this and to partner with our Upper Hunter Shire Council in bringing these new nets and pitches to support our great local club," he added.
Upper Hunter Shire mayor Maurice Collison thanked the NSW Government for the contribution to the project, in addition to a number of other contributors for creating a fantastic facility for those who love cricket in the shire and beyond.
The total project budget was $395,000, which included funding from:
- $172,500 secured through Community Infrastructure Grants, NSW Government
- $162,500 contributed by Upper Hunter Shire Council
- $50,000 contributed by Cricket NSW
- $5000 contributed by Upper Hunter District Cricket Association
- $5000 contributed by Upper Hunter District Junior Cricket