THE frayed tensions between two Wagga cricket clubs will be exposed under the blazing lights at Robertson Oval in the Wagga Cricket Association Twenty20 final next week.
WCA operations manager Grant Geaghan yesterday revealed Wagga City and Lake Albert were headed for a dramatic showdown in the Twenty20 decider at redeveloped Robertson Oval on Wednesday night.
Geaghan also confirmed WCA umpires and officials were aware that several first grade teams were "pushing the borderline" with their on-field behaviour.
"A couple of clubs have kept it in-house," Geaghan reported yesterday.
"Nothing has been brought to official level (yet).
"They (players) are pushing the borderline but haven't stepped over it."
Geaghan's comments come at a time when umpires have been told to closely monitor the behaviour and language of players during the WCA finals starting on Saturday.
"I had a good talk to (WCA umpires boss) Tony Hackett and he said he would be keeping an eye on it (behaviour)," Geaghan said.
Senior WCA executives discussed the rising levels of dissent, sledging and course language in matches at a meeting on Monday.
Geaghan said the issue of impassioned exchanges between Wagga cricketers on social media had also been raised.
The Daily Advertiser understands players from Lake Albert and Wagga City were involved in several heated incidents in the last round match at Rawlings Park at the weekend.
Wagga City won the match to lock down third place on the WCA table, while Lake Albert missed the playoffs.
The bitter fallout from the match is expected to continue when the two teams meet in the Twenty20 final on Wednesday night.
Geaghan said preparations for the grudge match of the season were gaining momentum, with a new pitch currently being laid at Robertson Oval.
“They’ve started work on the pitch and the race is on to ensure it’s right for Wednesday,” Geaghan said.
“The players that were complaining about having to play Twenty20 earlier in the season are now all keen to be playing (in the final).”
For Wagga cricket, the chance to play an important match under lights at Robertson Oval is the start of revolution for the sport in the city.
“It’s very exciting,” Geaghan said.
“‘Hopefully there will be a good crowd.”
Coming two weeks after the NAB Cup blockbuster at Robertson Oval, the Twenty20 final will be the second test for the $8 million revamped ground. Geaghan said WCA would make every effort to have white balls available for the Lake Albert-Wagga
City match to bring another touch of “big-time” cricket to the event.
Under the Twenty20 format, Wagga RSL and Kooringal Colts will play a second grade curtain-raiser to the Lake Albert-Wagga City decider.
LAKE ALBERT v WAGGA CITY
When: Wednesday night
Where: Robertson Oval