MONIQUE PASSCHIER & RORY COLEMAN-HEARD
Fans at the Western Australian Cricket Association’s first major cricket match of the 2014/15 season were divided today by a likely move to the new Perth Stadium upon its completion in 2018.
The future location of elite cricket in Perth will be decided next month when a body formed by the WACA delivers its findings on the ground.
Earlier this year, WACA Chairman Sam Gannon was reportedly considering the option of moving Test match cricket from the landmark Perth ground.
Today, at Day Two of the Western Australia vs Tasmania Sheffield Shield match, Alan Roberts of Munster said he had been coming to the WACA for more than 40 years.
He said the heritage of the ground was too important to forget.
“It’s a shame if they do move because the WACA has been here a long time,” he told InkWire.
“It’s got a lot of tradition behind it and a lot of fantastic games have been played here.”
Today’s visit to the WACA was the first time his grandsons had been to a first class cricket match.
“The kids love the grass area here and whether you’d be able to do that at the next venue I don’t know,” he said.
Long time cricket goer Katherine Allen, of Fremantle, said her childhood was shaped by her experiences at the WACA.
“I think because I did come here as a child there is a bit of nostalgia in terms of memories when I used to come here with my dad,” she said.
“There is something about it being still little and homey, but I know we’re way behind other states.”
Ms Allen said she pictured her daughter creating similar childhood memories.
“I want my daughter to experience what I experienced as a child,” she said.
“I love the WACA,” Mr Harris said.
“I love the fact that it’s still a unique cricket ground, but it needs modernising.”
The cricket ground will not host a test match in 2014/15 for the first time since 1977, with Cricket Australia instead opting to host matches at other stadiums.
Long time Western Warriors supporter Emily Cummins of Fremantle also said it was time the ground updated its facilities.
“I like it at the WACA, but it definitely needs a few better features,” she said.
“All in all, it needs a redevelopment.”
Last year the WACA pulled plans to build commercial and residential accommodation into the venue plus a new northern grandstand.
The association received a bill of close to $3 million after failing to reach pre-sale targets for the apartments on offer.
Christopher Chau, of South Gilford, who has enjoyed watching the cricket from the western grass bank for more than 10 years, said staying at the WACA would be a waste of taxpayer money.
“It would be disappointing if they move to a new stadium, but you’ve got to move with the times and it does seem silly if they paid a fortune in taxpayers’ money for a brand new stadium, if it’s only going to be used for AFL,” he said.
Some fans liked the fact the WACA could be moving to the new Perth Stadium.
Darren Christophersen – a WACA member for 12 years – said a move from the ground could not come fast enough.
“The facilities at the WACA are just atrocious,” Mr Christophersen said.