Canberra cricketers stay positive despite Manuka let-down

Canberra's cricketers are disappointed they will not get to play their finals on Manuka Oval this summer, but hope it will benefit ACT cricket long-term through the impending arrival of the World Cup.

Usually on Manuka, Sunday's one-day Gallop Cup final between Weston Creek Molonglo and Western Districts has been shunted to Stirling due to the World Cup, while the two-day final later in the year will be played at the home ground of whichever finalist finished higher on the ladder, due to the pre-season game between Greater Western Sydney and Sydney.

Weston Creek Molonglo's Kevin Jacob, left, and Wests player Joe Cooke before the ACT one-day final.
Weston Creek Molonglo's Kevin Jacob, left, and Wests player Joe Cooke before the ACT one-day final.  Photo: Jamila Toderas

Wests batsman Joe Cooke said they would have to ensure they made the grand finals next year if they wanted to play on Manuka.

He said if it was not for an early-season honesty session, Wests might not have made the one-day final at all, after a slow start to the season.

But they have turned it around in time to try to end a 16-year drought in the one-day competition.

They will also be hoping to turn around their last encounter against the Creekers in the Gallop Cup, when they were on the wrong end of a Dean demolition job – Jono and brother Blake combining for 203 runs in a 147-run victory.


In a quirk in the scheduling, the two teams will also meet in the two-day competition on Saturday.

"At the end of the day, we've got a World Cup in this country this year," Cooke said. "It's not something you see very often and if we have to forego a grand final here to have World Cup matches here, I think that's only growing the sport here and that's got to be positive."

Promising Weston batsman Kevin Jacob was also disappointed he would not get the chance to play on Manuka this weekend.

But the 17-year-old, who made his debut for the ACT Comets in the Futures League this summer, is hoping to be inspired by a storyline that continued to grow at Manuka on Wednesday night.

The Big Bash League final between eventual champions Perth Scorchers and the Sydney Sixers saw Australian Test spinner Nathan Lyon and the state-contracted duo of Ryan Carters and Jason Behrendorff play their third final at the ground – after last year's Sheffield Shield final and an ACT grade decider.

While he might not be playing at Manuka on Sunday, Jacob is hoping his own career can blossom out of a Canberra grade final too.

"Seeing the likes of Nathan Lyon and Jason Behrendorff, both of them came from the Canberra grade cricket, and seeing how they progressed over time, it's an inspiring story for all us young cricketers out there," he said.


Sunday: Weston Creek Molonglo v Western District at Stirling at 11am.


Saturday: ANU v North Canberra Gungahlin at ANU North; Western District v Weston Creek Molonglo at Jamison Oval; Queanbeyan v Ginninderra at Freebody; Tuggeranong Valley v Eastlake at Chisholm.