If the Adelaide Strikers have a successful season in the 2017/18 Big Bash they could thank the Strathalbyn Cricket Club and Alexandra & Eastern Hills Cricket Association for aiding their preparation.
A crowd of more than 500 local cricket fans converged on Strathalbyn oval late last month to see the Adelaide Strikers slug it out with a team of young South Australian Redback players.
The match marked the start of the Strikers 2017/2018 campaign, which features some new faces, including former Australian Test bowler Peter Siddle.
The Redbacks side batted first and it was youngster Conor McInerney who led the way scoring an unbeaten 95 from 62 balls.
An imposing Redbacks total of 4/188 ensured the Strikers would be faced with a big challenge and the fans would see some big hitting.
Adelaide Strikers captain Travis Head made an impressive start to his 2017-2018 Big Bash campaign, top scoring with 41 while Jake Lehmann made a quickfire 29.
In the end the youthful Redbacks team ran through the tail to dismiss their more fancied opponents for 142, which was 69 runs short of victory.
The Strathalbyn community embraced the event with cricket fans of all ages enjoying the spectacle.
Alexandra and Eastern Hills Cricket Association president Joe Hill was impressed with the turnout.
“We’re absolutely thrilled with the community response and it’s particularly pleasing to see so many young fans here,” Joe said.
“The players have been great – all the kids have had a chance to get an autograph and a photo with their heroes. The amount of people who showed up for the day took us all by surprise and we hope the Strikers have a fantastic season. They are very popular with kids and families.”
The Adelaide Strikers were highly impressed with the quality of the facility with captain Travis Head noting how well the pitch played.
Many commented on not just the state of the wicket, which was well professionally prepared by local curator Luke Cousins, but the first class surface of the Strathalbyn oval and the club’s state of the art facilities.
The Strikers management were full of praise for the Strathalbyn Cricket Club, who prepared the oval to a first-class cricket standard and even managed to find some make shift sight screens with just 24 hours notice.
Strathalbyn Cricket Club president Michael Cutting relied on some good old-fashioned country ingenuity by arranging for a B-Double trailer to be parked behind the bowlers arm at each end of the ground.
Local trucking company Whittam Transport were very accommodating when the call came in and were happy to arrange the trailers at a moment’s notice.
The success of the trial hit out match could open the door for further opportunities to see top-class cricket in regional areas.
The Strikers management have identified a handful of other facilities in regional South Australia that could potentially play host to Strikers’ matches.
The Alexandra & Eastern Hills Cricket Association and Strathalbyn Cricket Club are already discussing the possibility of hosting a Women’s Big Bash League match next season.