15/10/2008 - 22:00

Summer of cricket a big hit

15/10/2008 - 22:00

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ASK any sport buff in Western Australia what summer means in the world of sport and they will emphatically tell you one thing - cricket.

ASK any sport buff in Western Australia what summer means in the world of sport and they will emphatically tell you one thing - cricket.

This year, a revised cricket calendar has set the scene for an exciting series of competitions which smacked into action at the WACA this month.

At the recent launch of the Retravision Warriors cricket season, WACA president Dennis Lillee expressed his excitement about the state of WA cricket.

The former great said: "Once you smell the cut grass you naturally begin to get excited at the prospect of the season commencing."

The Retravision Warriors' season started on October 8 at the WACA, with a gruelling season schedule ahead including the Ford Ranger Cup, the Sheffield Shield and the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash.

The Sheffield Shield made a comeback in July when Cricket Australia announced that the coveted trophy would return for the domestic summer of cricket after a nine-year hiatus.

Since 1999 the shield was called the Pura Cup, but this year rather than using a naming rights sponsor - in a reversal to a growing trend in sport - it will be the Sheffield Shield 'presented by Weet-Bix'.

The shield was bought with a donation from the states from Lord Sheffield in 1892 and was contested for every season until 1999, when Cricket Australia elected to find a naming sponsor to compensate for the losses incurred by a competition played in front of only few spectators.

This year, however, large crowds are expected to return to cricket, which is evidenced by the inclusion of a new event on the WA 2008-09 sporting calendar, the Champions League Twenty20.

Cricket Australia has confirmed that the Champions League Twenty20 will move to an early December timeslot, which has resulted in the starting date for this year's WACA 3 Mobile Test Match being pushed back five days to avoid a clash with the inaugural tournament.

The test match between Australia and South Africa will now be staged at the WACA from December 17 to 21.

WACA chief executive Graeme Wood said he expected the change would cause minimal disruption to the momentum already generated to the lead up of the 2008-09 summer of cricket.

"The last day of the school term is December 18, so many children and their families will be able to attend the WACA Test Match in holiday mode, and as per last season, starting on Wednesday allows the WA corporate market to maximise the opportunities presented for the first three days," Mr Wood said in a statement.

Retravision Warriors major sponsor Retravision (WA) said the state of cricket in Western Australia made it an ideal platform to be a naming sponsor.

Retravision sales and marketing manager Craig Larkin said that the company was more than a team sponsor, but is rather the naming sponsor of cricket in the state.

"WA has a healthy love for cricket and there's a lot of consumer affiliation with the sport, so cricket, unlike AFL footy or that, has a wholesale appeal and that allows us to tap into a broader market across Australia," he told WA Business News.

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