This Saturday, Telstra Stadium will again make history, by hosting its first-ever First Grade cricket match, UTS-Balmain v Bankstown. The ground has already hosted two Speedblitz Blues ING Cup matches, and is bidding to host One-Day International cricket from 2005 onwards. Parking is available in P1 Car Park adjacent to the ground, and free match entry is via Gate K.
The Round 12 game is vital for both clubs, with only four preliminary rounds now remaining to be played. The Tigers currently lie in sixth position, and can ill-afford a loss. The Bulldogs lead the First Grade competition, and share the First Grade Limited-Overs competition's lead, and are looking forward to the return of Mark Waugh and Steve Waugh for the finals series.
Inspirational UTS-Balmain skipper Neil Maxwell holds the key for his club. In Round 10, Maxwell took 5/13, then rushed from the ground just in time for the birth of his second child. Then in Round 11, Maxwell took 5/17, to again single-handedly gain victory for his club. Rookie Blues fast bowler Aaron Bird (55 wickets to date) is equally important for Bankstown. Tigers batsmen Jason Krejza (574 runs) and Greg Hayne (524 runs) will be looking to halt Bird in his tracks.
In other crucial games, Fairfield-Liverpool (8th) will be counting on Blues speedster Don Nash for its must-win clash with Eastern Suburbs (3rd) at Waverley Oval, while Penrith (5th) will host Randwick Petersham (2nd) at Howell Oval, and Sydney University (equal 8th) will host North Sydney (7th) at University No 1 Oval.
Other matches- Gordon v Manly-Warringah at Killara; Mosman v St George at Rawson; Northern District v Blacktown at Waitara; Parramatta v Western Suburbs at Merrylands; Sutherland v Hawkesbury at Caringbah; University of NSW v Campbelltown-Camden at Village Green. All games commence at 10.00am, and entry is free.