Camden Cricket Club’s million dollar boost

Big hit: Camden MP Chris Patterson, Camden mayor Lara Symkowiak, Cricket NSW CEO Andrew Jones and Camden Rams president Benham Dodd celebrate the Centre for Excellence.
Big hit: Camden MP Chris Patterson, Camden mayor Lara Symkowiak, Cricket NSW CEO Andrew Jones and Camden Rams president Benham Dodd celebrate the Centre for Excellence.

Camden Council’s $1.1 million funding boost has hit the Camden Cricket Club for six.

The funds will be used to build the Cricket Centre of Excellence on land in Ferguson’s Lane at the Camden Bicentennial Equestrian Park.

Council pledged more than $3 million for stage one of the project last year.

Councillors unanimously decide to provide the extra funding at last night’s council meeting.

Camden Cricket Club president Benham Dodd said he was “blown away” by the support.

“It is overwhelming,” he said.

“It’s fantastic for the club and for cricket in NSW.”

The funds became available after the PCYC decided it no longer wanted to build a facility in Kirkham Park.

Camden mayor Lara Symkowiak said PCYC’s decision was a victory for local clubs.

“It’s sad about PCYC, but it is a win-win situation for local clubs,” she said.

“This is a significant contribution to cricket in the region.

“It will be an amazing facility for the area.”

The new cricket centre will house three fields, training areas, a clubhouse and an amenities building.

The project is a partnership between Camden Council, state and federal governments and Cricket NSW.

Mr Dodd said this space would revolutionise cricket in Camden.

“It will give Camden Cricket Club a home,” he said.

“With the growth population corridor we are seeing more people than ever before playing cricket.

“And now with women’s cricket as well, we are starting to run out of fields to play on.” 

Cricket is now the number one sport in Australia in terms of participation, with a record 1,311,184 people picking up the bat over the past year.

Local clubs currently play at Kirkham, Belgenny and Onslow Oval.

“It will be good to see the cricket centre come to fruition,” Mr Dodd said.

“We’ve been lucky to work with the council, Camden MP Chris Patterson and Cricket NSW on this project.”

Cricket NSW CEO Andrew Jones told the Advertiser last year they were thrilled with the idea.

“Whether they be community cricketers or aspiring elite cricketers, where they get to play and train every week is central to the quality of their experience,” he said.

“So it’s really important that everyone has easy access to high quality cricket facilities.”

Mr Jones said the centre would be a hub for all things cricket.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity, things like this don’t come around very often,” he said.

“It will become a place that Cricket NSW can use for a multitude of programs including academy squads and state challenges where teams come from all over NSW to compete for selection in teams for national championships.”