Australia v West Indies – Hobart Test, Day 2: The Reason?

The first Test Match played at Bellerive Oval took place in the early summer of 1989. It seems that sadly, its last may have taken place in the early summer of 2015. The reason?

Leading up to the 1st Test of the current Frank Worrell Trophy series, a blatant scare campaign threatened Tasmanians to use it or lose it. A Cricket Australia directive to the local governing body, clearly put the state on notice as the Manuka millionaires flexed their monetary muscle. For Canberrans want a Test match.

Tasmanians fought long and hard to earn the right to host Test cricket. After years of lobbying, this came to fruition. Recent ‘blockbusters’ have drawn a trickle through the turnstiles and the fat cats are circling. With another ‘blockbuster’ scheduled against the 8th-ranked team in world cricket, six thousand locals turned up on Day One. That’s 2.75% of the city’s population. On Day One of the Brisbane and Perth Tests, 0.7% of the population stormed through the gates to watch the Aussies take on our Trans-Tasman rivals.

Yet, as I arrive at my home ground on the morning of Day Two, I’m greeted with Gerard Whateley probing Cricket Australia’s main man, James Sutherland, on the wireless. Consistently questioned on the Hobart v Canberra debate, Sutherland is noncommittal, bordering on dismissive when discussing the merits of Hobartians hosting. Post interview, Whateley and colleague Dirk Nannes agree that our Island will not be granted one of six Test matches next summer. The reason?

Infuriated, I head to the nets and watch the Australians ply their trade. A rare glimpse into the inner sanctum of our national team is captivating, but only serves to further fuel the rage. Will this all be taken from us? Our magnificently redeveloped venue in one of the most picturesque settings in world cricket may not see the purest form again. The reason?

As a died in the wool long form man, I find joy in a Voges late cut, a Marsh flat-bat and a Lyon looper. However, today feels different. Today feels as though we’ve been had. Five thousand are in attendance despite the arctic conditions. Five thousand are in, despite the state’s underwhelming economic climate, overwhelming unemployment rate, and debilitating ticket prices. But all the while, commentary seems to undermine and critique the climate, the venue, the lack of support and the climate (over and over and over). It’s Tasmania. Toughen up and pack a bloody coat.

My fear that the time for the test cricket removalists to load up and head for Manuka appears to be upon us. The reason? It’s certainly not for the aesthetics of Lake Burley Griffin over the Derwent. It’s certainly not for Manuka Oval’s superiority over Bellerive Oval. It’s certainly not due to a lack of recent success of Tasmanian cricket teams and Tasmanian cricketers. The reason?

Somebody please, let me know.



About Joe Moore

Learned the art of the drop-punt from Derek Kickett as Jamie Lawson watched on. And thus, a Swan for life. @joedmoore1979


  1. Politics and cricket.
    Strange and uncomfortable bedfellows.
    But bedfellows nonetheless.

  2. Yeah, you should be well alarmed with that interview, Joe. Usually don’t have to look far beyond the $ with a healthy dose of centrism added in. The reality is CA are/were only ever going to send the weaker tests to Hobart (unfortunately money does not work on a per capita basis) and the fact that Hobart only gets a test in 6 test summers is a recipe for low attendances given lack of continuity etc. Ticket prices are actually pretty reasonable compared to the mainland – looking over the bowler’s arm at Adelaide Oval cost $90 once you took the handling fee into account.

  3. I am sorry to say Joe but cricket is the last thing on the mind of people in power at CA.
    It is all about the “money, money, money it’s a rich man’s world”.
    I personally got caught up in it on both day’s of covering the test.
    Unfortunately the media turn it into a plague and the ripple effect takes over as well. Besides the opening day had little in it as well.
    As said politics and sport are uncomfortable bed fellows. Single beds preferred.

  4. Thanks guys. The most poignant part of the interview came when Sutherland was asked if CA are putting the dollar ahead of the traditions of cricket. The highly unconvincing response said it all….”Um, no. I don’t think so”.

  5. Fair points, Joe.

    Schedule a Test once very few years, against woeful opposition, commencing on a working Thursday, and see what happens anywhere. Brisbane and Perth good examples of how to ruin spectator involvement via incoherent November scheduling.

    I would have thought that Cricket Australia might recognise their role to foster the game in all States and Territories. There’s surely a pastoral care obligation.
    And haven’t we been told that gate receipts are only a small part of the revenue, anyway? Isn’t this a game paid for by TV rights these days? The arguments do not stack up.
    It all smells pretty sus.

    Diabolical cricket, though. Nothing at all has been gained from this match.

    And as for the weather – I’m with you 100%.
    It’s Tasmania in December. Snow on Mt Wellington is possible. Snow on the Overland Track is possible. Pack a coat.

  6. Cheers, ER. Some great points there yourself.

    I’ve grown up going to watch the SCG Test each year, a couple of MCG Tests, and in more recent years, at the local. This was easily the worst Test of them all. In my humble opinion, considering that the match lasted 2.5 days, 2 of which were weekdays, non-school holidays and play scheduled to finish at 5.30pm, against what most pundits have called the worst West Indies team in history, attendances were more than acceptable.

    If having your city and your local Test match scrutinised within an inch of it’s life is the lot of the sixth Australian Test venue, then Canberrans are welcome to it. I, along with many other locals will happily switch allegiance to the shortest form of the game and our home-grown Hurricanes. This past week has provided a thoroughly unenjoyable experience for Hobartians who genuinely love the game. The condescending CA have done their utmost to make us feel as though we’re ‘lucky’ to have such a prestigious event visit our cold, little town.

    Disillusioned would be an understatement.

  7. Its all about the mighty dollar Joe.Weather was okay in Lonnie tho.

  8. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Yep money money money it is ludicrous that scheduling is all about 20 20,test cricket finished each season when summer is really only starting is criminal .taswegianx are ripped off footy wise as well not having a actual team in the afl in a so called national comp from a traditional aussie rules state

  9. Luke Reynolds says

    This angers me Joe, if Test cricket was played from mid December to early February, like it should be, attendances would be much healthier. Imagine a Hobart Test (day/night) played in either mid January or early February. It makes sense. It would be huge. November/early December Tests are greatly hurting the game’s best format.

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