North Sydney Oval

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North Sydney Oval
Starlight cinema at North Sydney Oval.jpg
Outdoor cinema with inflatable movie screen
Location North Sydney, New South Wales
Coordinates 33°49′55″S 151°12′34″E / 33.83194°S 151.20944°E / -33.83194; 151.20944Coordinates: 33°49′55″S 151°12′34″E / 33.83194°S 151.20944°E / -33.83194; 151.20944
Owner North Sydney Council
Operator North Sydney Council
Capacity 20,000
Surface Grass
Opened 1867 (Redeveloped 1929, 1931, 1983, 1985)
Tenants
North Sydney Bears (NSW Cup) (1908–present)
NSW Blues Cricket
North Sydney Cricket Club
Northern Suburbs Rugby Club (1900–present)
Northern Spirit (NSL) (1997–2003)

North Sydney Oval is a multi-use sporting facility.

History[edit]

Development[edit]

  • The first cricket pitch was laid on 6 December 1867, making it one of the oldest cricket grounds in Australia.
  • The first structure built, in 1879, was a simple pavilion overlooking the cricket ground. This was replaced by another pavilion which in turn was replaced by what is now the Duncan Thompson Stand in 1929.
  • The venue was renovated in 1931 due to complaints that the surface was 'like concrete' and that the ground was liable to cause serious injury to players. Nonetheless, as late as the 1980s, the ground was sometimes referred to as "Concrete Park".
  • In 1935 the timber fence was replaced by a high brick wall and concrete terrace seating 1,200 people was built.
  • Drainage and irrigation systems were installed and the pitch was re-laid in 1989.

Usage[edit]

Rugby League[edit]

North Sydney Oval has been the home ground of the North Sydney Bears since their inception in 1908. The club currently plays in the NSWRL VB NSW Cup and still attracts spectators to home games at the oval. Only two grounds have hosted more first grade rugby league matches.

In 2004, South Sydney Rabbitohs experimented with playing two home games at the ground. The first match between Souths and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles attracted 14,855 spectators.

The ground record crowd of 23,089 was set on 13 May 1994 for a Round 10 match with North Sydney taking on local rivals Manly. The Sea Eagles won the match 11–8.

Legendary North Sydney Bears, New South Wales and Australian winger Ken Irvine, who played 176 games and scored 633 points for the Bears (171 tries, 59 goals and 1 field goal) between 1958 and 1970 before transferring to Manly from 1971–73 before retiring, has the scoreboard at the oval named in his honor.

The Stadium Is Still Used For NSW Cup, Toyota Cup, SG Ball And Harold Matthew Games.

As part of the Central Coast Bears bid to enter the NRL, the bears plan to play one home game a year against Manly if their bid is successful.

Cricket[edit]

The New South Wales Blues cricket team play regular Sheffield Shield, Ryobi Cup and Twenty20 Cricket matches at the Oval. The oval hosted the final of the inaugural Twenty20 domestic knock-out cup competition between NSW Blues and Victorian Bushrangers. It also plays home to the North Sydney Grade club. The ground was the host for 6 group matches and the final of the 2009 Women's Cricket World Cup.

It has hosted 4 women's test matches, with Australia playing England there in 1957/58, 1968/69 and 1991/92 and India in 1990/91 and 12 one day internationals. New South Wales have played 3 first class matches there and 21 List A one day games.

In September and October 2013 Sydney will host the 2013–14 Ryobi One-Day Cup. North Sydney Oval was chosen as one of the host venues along with Bankstown, Hurstville, Drummoyne ovals and the Blacktown AFL/Cricket Stadium, with North Sydney and Bankstown being the two venues used for nationally broadcast games on Channel 9 and on their HD station GEM. North Sydney will host seven games of the 20 game tournament, including the playoff for 3rd and 4th on 24 October and the final to be played on 27 October.

Rugby Union[edit]

Rugby union has been played at the St Leonards Park complex since the late 1890s with the North Shore Football Club (known as the 'Pirates') playing matches there. In 1900 North Shore merged with the Wallaroos club to form Northern Suburbs Rugby Club and has had North Sydney Oval as their home ground ever since, playing all their home games in the Shute Shield at the ground.

The stadium was also briefly home to the Sydney Fleet during the short lived (single season) Australian Rugby Championship. With the elimination of this competition, Rugby events at the oval are limited to Northern Suburbs home games and promotional activities held by the Australian Rugby Union such as Wallaby 'Fan Days' and open training sessions.

Association Football[edit]

North Sydney Oval was the home ground for Northern Spirit FC, a now defunct club of the defunct Australian National Soccer League. In its inaugural season in 1998, an average of 15,000 spectators attended Northern Spirit FC games at North Sydney Oval including 18,985 for their first game against Sydney Olympic FC. It is generally accepted that North Sydney Oval is a poor venue for football. The ground is hard and compacted to cater for cricket, and for many months there is a cricket wicket in the middle of the ground. Northern Spirit FC paid to have a removable cricket wicket installed, but the ongoing costs of this were prohibitive. Northern Spirit also obtained government funding for half of the new lighting installed, while NSFC paid the other half. This was a major success for the club as before the new permanent lighting was installed, the older lighting was not bright enough to allow television broadcasts of night games. For 2 years Northern Spirit had hired a large amount of lighting for each game to get around the problem.

In August 2013, it was announced that Hyundai A-League side Central Coast Mariners will host a community round match against New Zealand side Wellington Phoenix at the oval on 19 December. This will be the first time an A-League match will be played at North Sydney Oval since it superseded the National Soccer League as the top Australian league in football.[1]

In June 2014 the Mariners announced their intention to play at least one home game per season at North Sydney Oval, starting with their Round 10 fixture against Melbourne Victory.[2]

Australian Rules[edit]

The Australian Football League club, Sydney Swans, has played a number of matches at the oval against both Sydney Football League opposition and an annual exhibition match against fellow AFL team Essendon.

In 2005 the Sydney Swans played a pre-season friendly match against Essendon in front of a crowd of 9,654.

In the 2006 match, a full strength Essendon (89) defeated the young outfit of the reigning premiers (71) in front of a crowd of 8,461.

In 2007, the Collingwood replaced Essendon in what has become a regular pre-season friendly against the Swans over the past five years. In the 2007 match held on Friday 16 February, Sydney (66) defeated Collingwood (51) in front of a crowd of 9,560.[3]

Starlight cinema[edit]

Since 2003, North Sydney Oval has been used during evenings in January and February as a venue for outdoor cinema on an inflatable screen.

References[edit]