North Sydney Oval is a multi-use sporting facility in North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, owned and operated by North Sydney Council. First used as a cricket ground in 1867, it is also used for Australian rules football, rugby league, rugby union and soccer.

North Sydney Oval
Outdoor cinema with movie screen
LocationNorth Sydney, New South Wales
Coordinates33°49′55″S 151°12′34″E / 33.83194°S 151.20944°E / -33.83194; 151.20944
OwnerNorth Sydney Council
OperatorNorth Sydney Council
Opened1867 (redeveloped 1929, 1931, 1983, 1985)
North Sydney Bears (NSWRL/NRL) (1910–1999)
North Sydney Bears (NSW Cup) (2000–present)
NSW Blues Cricket (Sheffield Shield & Marsh Cup) (1800s–present)
Sydney Sixers (BBL) (2023–present)
North Sydney Cricket Club (1800s–present)
Northern Suburbs Rugby Club (1900–present)
Northern Spirit (NSL) (1997–2003)
Ground information
End names
Fig Tree End
Scoreboard End
International information
First women's Test25–28 January 1969:
 Australia v  England
Last women's Test9–12 November 2017:
 Australia v  England
First WODI3 December 1988:
 Australia v  England
Last WODI10 February 2024:
 Australia v  South Africa
First WT20I20 January 2012:
 Australia v  New Zealand
Last WT20I2 October 2023:
 Australia v  West Indies
As of 10 February 2024
Source: Cricinfo
North Sydney Oval
North Sydney Oval 2
Ground information
International information
First WODI4 December 1988:
 Netherlands v  New Zealand
Last WODI14 March 2009:
 South Africa v  Sri Lanka
As of 10 February 2024
Source: Cricinfo

History edit

Development edit

The oval in 2004

The first cricket pitch was laid on 6 December 1867, making it one of the oldest cricket grounds in Australia. A simple pavilion overlooking the cricket ground was the first structure at the oval, built in 1879 and replaced in 1909.[2] 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.

Major renovations were undertaken in the 1980s. The old grandstand was named after North Sydney Bears player Duncan Thompson. New stands were built and named after cricketers Bill O'Reilly, Charlie Macartney and Mollie Dive. In 1983, the venerable Bob Stand was moved to North Sydney Oval from the Sydney Cricket Ground.[3] The hill became known as the Doug Walters Stand. Drainage and irrigation systems were installed and the pitch was re-laid in 1989.

In 1992, the oval won a Sydney Cricket Association award for "Ground of the Year".

North Sydney Oval first trialed the technology in 1998, when cricket wicket technology was in its early stages. Since then, the technology has improved substantially and is used by many premier sporting stadiums including Sydney Showground Stadium, Adelaide Oval and the MCG.

In 2015 it was announced that North Sydney Oval would be receiving an upgrade. The upgrades will continue until the year 2019/2020.[4][5]

Usage edit

Rugby league edit

North Sydney Oval has been the home ground of the North Sydney Bears since their inception in 1908. The first top grade rugby league match to be played at the oval came in round 1 of the 1910 NSWRL season where North Sydney defeated Glebe 13-9 in front of 3000 spectators. The club currently plays in the 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 experimented with playing two home games at the ground. The first match between Souths and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles attracted 14,855 spectators.

Legendary North Sydney, 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 honour.

The last first grade game North Sydney played here was on August 22, 1999 against Melbourne. North Sydney won the match 24-20. The last first grade game played at the oval was on May 21, 2005 when South Sydney played a home match here against the New Zealand Warriors. The Warriors went on to win the game 34-16. As part of the Central Coast Bears' bid to enter the NRL in 2006, North Sydney planned to play one home game a year against Manly if their bid was successful.

In 2018, North Sydney Oval hosted the inaugural State of Origin women's match where New South Wales defeated Queensland 16-10.[6] Also in 2018, North Sydney Oval was featured in a Channel 9 game for the first time since 1999 when Norths played against the Western Suburbs Magpies.[7]

On 21 June 2019, North Sydney Oval hosted the State of Origin women's match for the second year running with a crowd of 10,515 in attendance as New South Wales defeated Queensland 14-4.[8] In 2022, North Sydney were looking to re-enter the NRL as the 18th team. The bid would propose having some games being played at North Sydney Oval as part of the licence being awarded.[9]

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 5 women's test matches, with Australia playing England there in 1957/58, 1968/69 and 1991/92, 2017 (which was also the first even day-night Women's Test match) 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.

Soccer edit

North Sydney Oval was the home ground for Northern Spirit FC (now known as GHFA 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 pitch in the middle of the ground. Northern Spirit FC paid to have a removable cricket pitch 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.[10]

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.[11]

Australian rules edit

North Sydney Oval as seen during the AFL Women's match between Sydney and St Kilda on 27 August 2022.

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.[12]

On 27 August 2022, the venue hosted its first AFL/AFLW premiership match when Sydney played St Kilda in round one of AFL Women's season seven; with an attendance of 8,264, it set a new record for a standalone women's fixture in New South Wales.[13][14]

Sunset 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.

International cricket centuries edit

North Sydney Oval edit

Women's Test centuries edit

Three WTest centuries have been scored at the venue.[15]

No. Score Player Team Balls Opposing team Date Result
1 104 Belinda Clark   Australia   India 26 January 1991 Drawn
2 148* Denise Annetts   Australia 375   England 19 February 1992 Won
3 213* Ellyse Perry   Australia 374   England 9 November 2017 Drawn

Women's One Day International centuries edit

Four WODI centuries have been scored at the venue.[16]

No. Score Player Team Balls Opposing team Date Result
1 109 Amy Satterthwaite   New Zealand 119   Australia 14 December 2012 Lost
2 103 Meg Lanning   Australia 50   New Zealand 17 December 2012 Won
3 102 Lizelle Lee   South Africa 89   Australia 23 November 2016 Lost
4 133 Beth Mooney   Australia 105   Pakistan 21 January 2023 Won

Women's T20 International centuries edit

Four WT20I centuries has been scored at the venue.[17]

No. Score Player Team Balls Opposing Team Date Result
1 113 Beth Mooney   Australia 61   Sri Lanka 29 September 2019 Won
2 113 Chamari Athapaththu   Sri Lanka 66   Australia 29 September 2019 Lost
3 148* Alyssa Healy   Australia 61   Sri Lanka 2 October 2019 Won
4 132 Hayley Matthews   West Indies 64   Australia 2 October 2023 Won

North Sydney Oval No. 2 edit

Women's One Day International centuries edit

One WODI century has been scored at the venue.[18]

No. Score Player Team Balls Opposing team Date Result
1 114 Nicki Turner   New Zealand   Netherlands 4 December 1988 Won

International cricket five-wicket hauls edit

Women's Test five-wicket hauls edit

There are two WTest five-wicket hauls that have been taken at this venue.[19]

# Figures Country Player Opponent Date Result
1 5/51   England Lesley Clifford   Australia 25 January 1969 Drawn
2 5/49   Australia Lorraine Kutcher   England 25 January 1969 Drawn

Women's One Day International five-wicket hauls edit

There is one WODI five-wicket haul that has been taken at this venue.[20]

# Figures Country Player Opponent Date Result
1 5/15   England Laura Marsh   Pakistan 12 March 2009 Won

Women's T20 International five-wicket hauls edit

One WT20I five-wicket haul has been taken at this venue.

# Figures Country Player Opponent Date Result
1 5/15   Australia Megan Schutt   Pakistan 24 January 2023 Won

References edit

  1. ^ "North Sydney Oval". Austadiums. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  2. ^ "St Leonards Park". NSW Office of Environment & Heritage.
  3. ^ "Our grand stands through time". Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  4. ^ North Sydney Council. "North Sydney Council - North Sydney Oval upgrade". Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  5. ^ "We're for Sydney". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  6. ^ "Women's State of Origin match preview". NRL. 22 June 2018. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  7. ^ "Intrust Super Premiership NSW Broadcast Schedule". NSWRL. 19 April 2018. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  8. ^ "Crowd pack into North Sydney Oval to watch NSW Women defend Origin crown". Sydney Morning Herald. 21 June 2019.
  9. ^ "'Big piece of the pie': Bears promised mammoth $15m funding to become NRL's 18th franchise". 9 October 2022.
  10. ^ "Mariners to create history in North Sydney - Football Australia 2013". Archived from the original on 20 August 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  11. ^ "Mariners to start Season 10 with F3 Derby". Football Federation Australia. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  12. ^ Australian Stadiums :: AFL Pre-Season: SYD v COLL
  13. ^ "Historic AFLW fixture released". Sydney Swans. 4 July 2022. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  14. ^ Beyond the Boundary with Baker: Learnings from Round 1 By Baker Denneman, Sydney Swans
  15. ^ "Statistics / Statsguru / Women's Test Matches / Batting records". Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Statistics / Statsguru / Women's One-Day Internationals / Batting records". Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  17. ^ "Batting records | Women's Twenty20 Internationals | Cricinfo Statsguru |". Cricinfo. Retrieved 30 October 2023.
  18. ^ "Statistics / Statsguru / Women's One-Day Internationals / Batting records (No. 2 Ground)". Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  19. ^ "Statistics / Statsguru / Womens Test Matches / Bowling Records". Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  20. ^ "Statistics / Statsguru / Womens One-Day Internationals / Bowling Records". Retrieved 14 November 2017.