Lavington Sports Ground
View of the pitch before the A-League match. (9th February, 2014)
|Former names||Lavington Panthers Oval (2001-2009)|
|Location||Hamilton Valley, Albury, New South Wales, Australia|
|Owner||City of Albury|
Seating: 1,250 (6% capacity)
|Record attendance||20,169 (20th March, 1995: AFL Pre-Season: Essendon vs. Carlton)|
|Renovated||2016 (2019 plan completion)|
|Lavington Panthers F.N.C. (OMFNL)
Lavington Panthers C.C. (CAW)
"South End" / "Hill End"
|First ODI||18 March 1992:
Zimbabwe v England
|Last ODI||18 March 1992:
Zimbabwe v England
Lavington Sports Ground (formally known as "Lavington Panthers Oval" between 2001 and 2009), is a sports ground located in the suburb Hamilton Valley, which used to be part of the suburb Lavington (hence the name of the ground) on the north-west fringe of the city of Albury, Australia. The oval is nestled in the side of a hill, with concrete terraces cut into the southern side of the oval below a grass embankment, with the grandstand and changing rooms located on the north-west flank. The venue also incorporates a 4 table cricket wicket, a velodrome for track cycling and two netball courts. The Lavington Panthers Sports Club licensed club is located adjacent to the ground, across Hanna Street.
The venue is the home ground for the Lavington Panthers Football Club in the Ovens & Murray Football League, and usually hosts the Ovens & Murray grand finals, which typically attract crowds of around 15,000. In summers the venue is used for cricket, with a turf wicket, and in this capacity serves as the home of the Lavington Panthers side in the Cricket Albury-Wodonga Provincial competition.
- In December 1972, construction started on the current grandstand.
- 1981 saw the ground host the Grand Final of the Ovens & Murray Football League for the first time. Wodonga triumphed over Albury, 19.11 (125) - 14.14 (98), in front of 10,150.
- Ever since 1995, every Grand Final of the Ovens & Murray Football League has been hosted at Lavington Sports Ground. Normally the Preliminary Final is hosted by one of the O&M's other big venues, either the Albury Sports Ground or Norm Minns Oval.
- In 2001 the facility became under control of the Penrith Panthers thought the Penrith Entertainment Group.
- In July 2009 the facility was sold to the Albury City Council for $1.2M.
- In 2010, AlburyCity completed a lighting upgrade costing in the order of $500K to bring the lux level to television broadcast standards.
- In September 2010, Lavington Sportsground hosted the Group Nine Rugby League Grand Final for the first time in group nine history.
- In 2016 Albury City announced plans for extensive refurbishments.
AlburyCity purchased the Lavington Sports Ground from the Panthers Group in 2009. Since then a number of improvements have been made to the facility and council has also purchased an additional 4.6ha of land to the east for the development of additional multipurpose playing fields.
In December 2015 Council was successful in securing $4.025M under the Federal Government’s National Stronger Region Fund for the redevelopment project. Together with Council's $3.5M funding, $250,000 from the AFL and commitments from the Lavington Panthers Football/Netball and Cricket clubs, works will commence in late 2016.
International & National usage
Australian Rules Football
From the early 1990s until 2006 it often hosted AFL practice matches during the AFL pre-season, however due to the inadequacy of the existing ground lighting, in 2006, the AFL changed to schedule such fixtures in the Riverina area at Narrandera & Wagga Wagga and North East area at Wangaratta & Shepparton. Since the 2015 AFL pre-season football matches have returned to the Lavington Sports Ground, with the first being "Richmond vs. Port Adelaide".
|AFL Pre-Season matches at Lavington Sports Ground|
From 2000 until 2002, the Murray Kangaroos played in the VFL as a joint venture between the North Melbourne Football Club and the Ovens and Murray Football League and served as North Melbourne's reserve side. The club's home games were split between Coburg City Oval in Melbourne, and Lavington . The side was made up with players from the Kangaroos, and topped up with players from the Ovens and Murray League offering a second chance to footballers who had missed out on the draft.
The venue hosted a Sheffield Shield fixture between New South Wales and Victoria during the 1989/90 domestic season.
In 1990 New South Wales hosted England in a Tour Match at the venue.
On 13 December 2016, the venue hosted 3 cricket matches. Which included one match from the 2016-17 Women's Big Bash League followed by two practice matches for men  ahead of their Big Bash competition that began later in the month.
Lavington hosted the grand final of the pre-season Tooheys Challenge Cup 1994 and 1995. The South Sydney Rabbitohs won their first major trophy since their 1971 premiership win when they shocked two time reigning premiers the Brisbane Broncos 27-26 in the Final of the Tooheys Challenge Cup. In 1995 the Broncos went one better and won the pre-season Tooheys Challenge Cup with a 30-14 win over Cronulla-Sutherland.
The New South Wales Rugby League had scheduled the City vs Country representative game for Lavington in 2007 but the fixture was shifted to Coffs Harbour, as the existing lighting was deemed unsuitable for television. It did however host the City vs Country game in 2011 with Country defeating City 18-12 in front of 8056 fans.
In February 2015, the NRL announced that the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles would play a premiership game at Lavington against the Canberra Raiders in round 5. The match, which took place during Round 5 of the 2015 NRL season saw the Raiders defeat an out of form Manly 29-16 in front of 6436 fans.
Association Football / Soccer
On 9 February 2014, Heart triumphed 2-1 in scorching conditions. Due to the temperature (41°C), the match was postponed by two hours; from 3pm to 5pm. However, there was no significant drop in temperature. Players were ordered off the field on three occasions (15', 30', 66') for drinks breaks. 7218 were in attendance.
In May 2016, local side Murray United was drawn to host fellow Victorian side Bentleigh Greens, in the Sixth Round Preliminary of the 2016 FFA Cup. Normally Murray United play all their home matches at La Trobe University in Wodonga. On May 25 2016, at Lavington Sports Ground, Murray United lost 0-3 in a gutsy effort to the NPL Vic Powerhouse club.
- Lavington Sports Ground – AuStadiums
- http://footystats.freeservers.com/Archive/Wizard05.html#SEMI-FINALS 2005 Wizard Regional Challenge - Melbourne vs. St. Kilda
- http://footystats.freeservers.com/Archive/NAB06.html#GRAND-FINAL 2006 Wizard Regional Challenge - Carlton vs. Western Bulldogs
- http://www.afl.com.au/match-centre/nab-challenge/2015/1/rich-v-port 2015 NAB Challenge - Richmond vs. Port Adelaide
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-26. Retrieved 2014-02-09.