The final revised draw confirmed today will see Mackay double the amount of WBBL matches it will host, with two consecutive festival rounds at Great Barrier Reef Arena next month.
The new WBBL draw will mean that the scheduled round originally set down for Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast on October 30 and 31 will not go ahead this season, with the Heat now scheduled to play in Launceston before heading to Adelaide.
The venue is currently hosting the T20 Internationals between Australia and India after welcoming both teams last week for the historic inaugural day/night women’s Test match played at the venue.
Cricket Australia confirmed that changes to the schedule have been made in response to state border restrictions, public health conditions and their related impacts.
The changes allow the League and clubs to continue to prioritise the health and safety of fans, the wider community, players, match officials and staff.
Mackay will host nine WBBL games in total, with the Heat featuring in four of those across the weekends of November 13 and 14 and November 19 and 20. The Adelaide Strikers, Hobart Hurricanes, Melbourne Renegades, Sydney Sixers, and Sydney Thunder will also feature in matches in Mackay.
The Brisbane Heat are in the second year of a three-year agreement with the Mackay Regional Council and last year carried destination branding on the playing shirts of the WBBL team.
Mayor Greg Williamson said 2021 had cemented Mackay’s reputation for being able to host top-class sporting action.
“We’ve had five NRL games, including two semi-finals at BB Print Stadium and then three games of international cricket featuring the Australia and Indian women’s sides Great Barrier Reef Arena recently,’’ he said.
“Now we’ve been granted additional WBBL games. That is testament to the top-class facilities at Harrup Park and Mackay’s track record in hosting big games and its relationship with administrators.
“We secured the WBBL games through our multi-year partnership with Queensland Cricket.”
Queensland Cricket CEO Terry Svenson thanked Mackay Regional Council, Mackay Cricket and Harrup Park for their willingness to host more games this summer.
“It has been outstanding to be able to take the Women’s One Day Internationals there recently and now there is the opportunity to make two huge weekends for the region with the additional WBBL fixtures at Great Barrier Reef Arena,’’ he said.
“It is unfortunate that we won’t be able to take the WBBL Heat to the Gold Coast this summer, although the consolation is that Metricon Stadium will have hosted international cricket this summer with the day/night Test and the T20 internationals between Australia and India.”
“There is a lot of cricket to come this summer and Metricon Stadium will also host KFC Big Bash League games and no doubt be an option for other events if required,’’ Svenson said.
The Brisbane Heat’s biggest charity event for Ovarian Cancer Australia (OCA), Teal Heels, is landing in Mackay for the first time on Saturday 20 November.
The cocktail fundraiser, which is a sell-out event each year at the Gabba, raises funds for ovarian cancer research and patient support.
With only 100 spots up for grabs, tickets to the event at Harrup Park Country Club are predicted to sell fast.
Cricket Australia also confirmed today that all WBBL matches would be broadcast.
This season, Seven will show 24 Weber WBBL|07 matches live, with all 59 matches on Foxtel and Kayo, in addition to coverage on ABC Radio and cricket.com.au. Such a strong broadcast footprint reinforces the ambition of the League and clubs to continue growing the competition despite the challenges of the pandemic.
Venues for the Weber WBBL|07 Finals Series are yet to be confirmed.
Matches are scheduled for November 24, 25 and 27, with the Brisbane Heat potentially able to host a finals appearance at the Gabba if they qualify.
If that was the case, it would be the first time the Gabba would host a WBBL game and Final since it became a stand-alone competition two years ago.