Comets coup

THE Queanbeyan Cricket Club has scored a major coup with Freebody Oval set to host next week's Futures league clash between the ACT Comets and South Australia.

The four-day game will be the highest profile cricket match ever staged in Queanbeyan and will mark the first time the Comets have held a home match across the border.

The Comets regular home ground Manuka Oval is currently out of action due to the installation of new light towers at the venue.

The Futures League is Australia's second tier cricket competition, one step below the Sheffield Shield. 

Freebody is also in the running to host an ACT Meteors game later this month but a final decision on the women's representative match will be dependent on the progression of construction work at Manuka. 

Queanbeyan's hosting of next week's Comets game was made possible in large part by the recent completion of the new $1.3 million Freebody Oval Pavilion. 

The new facility means Queanbeyan is one of the only clubs in the region capable of staging state level cricket according to Cricket ACT chief executive Mark Vergano. 

"The call was made by our high performance team of Dawso [high performance director Andrew Dawson] and [Comets coach] Mark Higgs who felt Freebody Oval best suited the Comets' needs," Vergano said on awarding Freebody hosting rights. 

"Obviously the new facility at Freebody brought the ground into the reckoning to host a match of this standard where previously we wouldn't have even been able to consider it. 

"With the new nets available, the new dressing rooms and just the way the facility has been appointed are all things that lend themselves to hosting high quality cricket." 

And the decision has been met with excitement by the Queanbeyan cricket community. 

  "We're only able to host a game like this because of the new facilities at Freebody Oval and the benefits of [the Pavilion] have become apparent very quickly," Queanbeyan Cricket Club president Peter Solway said. 

"I think this would be the biggest game played in Queanbeyan that I can remember so it's a good coup for the club." 

The Comets match has forced a number of Queanbeyan club games to be rescheduled this weekend. Queanbeyan's first grade game against Ginninderra on Saturday has been moved to Freebody 2 with third grade shifted to Town Park. 

Sunday's second grade game, which had originally been scheduled for Freebody 1, will now be played at Freebody 2 with fourth grade at Town Park.  

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