Cricket ACT life members get Christmas Test

Sports

In its shadows was plenty of reminiscing about Canberra cricket and those that have helped make this moment come about.

Especially after the disappointment of the Canberra Comets bowing out of the Mercantile Mutual Cup all those years ago.

Brown, who’s second in the Cricket ACT first-grade run scorers list, was not just excited about the opening day of the Test, but Saturday morning as well.

“I think it’s amazing. A lot of people have done a lot of hard work over a long period of time,” he said on Friday.

“Some aren’t with the organisation any more and there’s some people who have done a lot of work in the background. For all those people to have a Test match now is a just reward.

“It was about 20 years ago when we got the unfortunate news of getting out of the Mercantile Mutual and it would’ve been easy to slide off the radar a little bit.

“I woke up this morning, I had to pinch myself, it felt like Christmas. I’ve got a young son, he’s eight years old, to be able to bring him to the cricket tomorrow in Canberra, I can’t wait.”

With an office in Manuka, he walked to the ground, taking in the buzz around the cafes and the fans wearing green and gold.

Brown praised former Cricket ACT chief executives Gary Goodman, Mark Vergano and Cameron French for their role in making this day happen, along with past president John Gallop.

“The facility is fantastic. It’s such a beautiful, boutique ground – it reminds me of a County ground in the UK and the wicket is such high quality,” Brown said.

“There’s been some criticism of wickets around the country. I think because of the high-quality of the pitch and also the outfield you’ll see attractive cricket.

“I’d love to see a Test match every few years, it’d be terrific.”

Fellow life-member Greg Irvine also hoped more Tests and internationals would come off the back of an historic first Test.

He played about 150 games for the ACT and also captained the Australian country cricket team.

Irvine added past president Ian McNamee and ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr to the list of those who played big roles in bringing a Test to town.

But he also felt it probably should’ve come sooner.

“You have a feeling that at last Canberra’s being recognised as a fantastic venue for cricket,” Irvine said.

“I hope things continue to progress, with Test matches and international games here. I think it’s just a fantastic venue.

“I think it should’ve come earlier. I think Canberra cricket has always come to the party with what Cricket Australia needs, but then the goal posts kept moving.

“First of all it was improving the facilities, the grandstand, they’ve done that, then you need lights and that’s done.

“But now having the recognition of having a Test match is fantastic. There’s a lot of people to thank to get to this stage.”

David Polkinghorne covers the Canberra Raiders, local rugby league, Canberra Cavalry, racing and cycling, along with every other sport, for The Canberra Times.