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Manuka Oval could host Sheffield Shield final

ESPNcricinfo staff

March 10, 2014

Comments: 11 | Text size: A | A

Steven Smith drives down the ground, South Africa v Australia, 1st Test, Centurion, 1st day, February 12, 2014
Steven Smith is one of several Test players who will return for the final round of Sheffield Shield matches © Getty Images
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The Sheffield Shield final may be held at Manuka Oval in Canberra or Gliderol Stadium in Glenelg after both New South Wales and South Australia were forced to find alternatives to their main venues. The last round of matches begins on Tuesday and will determine the finalists, with South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia all equal on 26 points at the top of the table and Queensland also in contention on 22 points.

South Australia had already advised that if they were to host the final it would be held in Glenelg instead of at Adelaide Oval due to a Rolling Stones concert, and New South Wales have also had to come up with another plan. The SCG will be in use for Major League Baseball matches between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Cricket New South Wales has nominated Manuka Oval as its final venue.

The Blues will play Western Australia at Manuka Oval in the final round in a match that will go a long way to determining the make-up of the final, although South Australia's match in Hobart against Tasmania will also be important. Last year's runners-up, Queensland, could also catapult themselves into the decider if they beat Victoria at the MCG.

All three of the top sides will benefit from the return of Test players from the tour of South Africa, with Steven Smith to captain New South Wales, who also gain Nathan Lyon. Shaun Marsh is likely to rejoin the Western Australia outfit, perhaps as a replacement for his brother Mitchell, who suffered a side strain in last week's match.

Phillip Hughes will make his return for South Australia but the Redbacks will be without their captain Johan Botha, who was suspended for one match for a bizarre incident in last week's match against New South Wales. Botha was believed to have called for the new ball during the New South Wales innings and then rubbed the old ball on his boot spikes before throwing it off the ground.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by jrg_from_oz on (March 11, 2014, 7:40 GMT)

Sydney CRICKET Ground or Sydney BASEBALL Ground?

Sorry AFL, you can't play the 2014 Grand Final at the MCG because the World Series Tiddlywinks Championship has already booked the ground. But I'm sure you'll be happy to move to Punt Rd Oval.

Has the world gone mad?

Posted by smudgeon on (March 11, 2014, 7:28 GMT)

While the home final has long been a feature of Shield (and an incentive to finish top of the table), I kind of like the idea of playing it at a "neutral" venue. Plus, the more first class cricket Canberra gets, the more likely it is to be developed into a permanent first-class fixture and hopefully get more internationals. Perhaps the inaugural Test match between Australia and Ireland in 2020 can be at Manuka Oval ;) A guy can dream...

Posted by joeyinoz on (March 11, 2014, 6:28 GMT)

I guess no one, not even the SACA, thought SA would be a contender for the Shield final. Can't blame them, SA have been woeful for over a decade.

Posted by wapuser on (March 11, 2014, 4:13 GMT)

A ridiculous state of affairs. I love the Stones (less so baseball) but how can CA allow this to happen? Our premier first class competition. Surely if a Test venue isn't available they can 't host a Test next season. Simple.

Posted by   on (March 10, 2014, 21:14 GMT)

im from NSW but I hope for this reason NSW and SA don't make the final. a concert and a baseball game are preventing cricket being played at two cricket grounds. how ridiculous

Posted by   on (March 10, 2014, 21:01 GMT)

Manesh,

The American Trifle and bunch of hasbeens sold out those venues. the shield final woudn't even get close to those numbers if you combined all 5 days of attendance.

Jontycodes,

Didn't Victoria play a recent Shield Final at Punt Road because the MCG was unavailable?

Posted by   on (March 10, 2014, 7:44 GMT)

Manuka Oval is not a substandard ground, its no SCG or MCG, but I'm sure with the football seasons all starting up, there is no room for a full 5 day fixture at one of the more luxurious grounds in WORLD cricket

Posted by johntycodes on (March 10, 2014, 7:04 GMT)

So the afl season has to be affected with no games being played at the mcg in round 1 because victoria might have made the final and had to host yet these other states aren't going to use proper home grounds because of baseball and a concert.

Posted by   on (March 10, 2014, 6:53 GMT)

It's a truly sad day for the shield when some stupid American trifle and a bunch of has beens can trump the shield final.

Posted by JiminyCricket1969 on (March 10, 2014, 6:44 GMT)

Again the proving ground for our Aussie test players is put behind other interests. Shame Cricket Australia for not listening to the advice you asked for and received in reviews. I certainly hope the 2013/14 domestic fixture format is never ever repeated! Have been thrilled by our recent test successes, but am worried it is papering over the cracks in our continued development. A strong Shield comp is vital for continued long form success.

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