THE popular Women’s Big Bash League matches usually held at Lilac Hill will from this year be held at the Western Australia Cricket Association ground.
Hosted at Lilac Hill by the City of Swan since 2016 the community event attracted 8000 people in 2022.
The city said it understood there was a two-year agreement in place with WA Cricket, locking in the WBBL festival at Lilac Hill for 2023 with the event earmarked for the first weekend in November.
But WA Cricket had then decided to hold all WBBL games including this year’s event at the WACA ground.
WA Cricket chief operating officer and Perth Scorchers general manager Justin Michael said the Scorchers had loved playing at Lilac Hill since the WBBL’s inception.
Mr Michael thanked the City of Swan and Midland-Guildford Cricket Club for their amazing support.
“We need only to look at the Matildas recently to see the appetite for women’s sport in world class venues,’’ he said.
“We believe that playing all Scorchers WBBL matches at the iconic WACA ground this season, with a view to playing in larger venues like Optus Stadium in the future, meets the expectations of our fans.”
An officer’s report presented to the August 9 council meeting said the WBBL event was a significant fundraising event for the Midland Guildford Cricket Club, who were important stakeholders to the city.
At the meeting councillors discussed an officer’s recommendation that the council approve repurposing the $65,000 the city had budgeted for the WBBL event towards another community event at Lilac Hill that would fulfil the same strategic purposes as the WBBL event.
In place of the WBBL event the proposed alternative was a dog-themed, family friendly event, tentatively titled FurBabies and Brunch but it was rejected by a majority of councillors, who instead voted to support an alternative motion put forward by Cr Bryce Parry to accelerate some projects already approved by the council to improve sport facilities for female patrons (see Women’s sport facilities boosted, page 6).
Cr Ian Johnson said if the intention of the Big Bash League was to promote women’s sport then upgrading facilities to support female users of sporting facilities was surely in line with the original intention of spending $65,000.
“It’s not anything that the council or the city has done that’s led us down the path of having to find an alternative way of spending the money, it’s the success of women’s sport so we should be supporting that,’’ he said.
“The fact that the Women’s Big Bash League has moved from Lilac Hill Park to the WACA is a sign of good things so we should be supporting that.’’
Back in 2019, that year’s WBBL event at Lilac Hill was brought up as urgent business at a Swan council meeting, with Mayor David Lucas telling councillors that an email from the WACA was asking if the city was still going to contribute the $60,000 it had promised to help fund the event.
A motion put up by former councillor David McDonnell recommending the city include $60,000 for the WBBL matches at Lilac Hill in the budget due to be adopted on July 3 was supported by all the councillors except former councillor Andrew Kiely.