It's not the MCG ... but cricket fans will love it
IPSWICH cricket boss Peter Leschke can hardly wipe the smile off his face after picking up the keys to the shiny new facility at Ivor Marsden Sports Ground in Leichhardt.
Mr Leschke, Councillor David Pahlke and Parks, Sport and Recreation Committee chairperson Councillor David Morrison yesterday inspected the million dollar facility that is the first step in creating a first-class cricket venue in Ipswich.
The first stage of the development has seen the completion of two adjoining buildings, the first housing change rooms, a referees' room, toilets and first aid services, with the second structure housing a canteen, bar, offices and a 10 by six metre function room.
Work to improve lighting on the main Baxter Oval field and improvements to the playing surface will follow, eventually taking the Ipswich City Council investment to $1.8 million.
"We will be the envy of other Brisbane grade cricket clubs," Mr Leschke said of the Ipswich cricket's home base.
"This is paramount to the development of the Ipswich/Logan Hornets and will help us develop the next Shane Watson."
Cr Morrison said the investment in sporting infrastructure was about keeping talent in Ipswich right through to the elite ranks.
"In all sports in Ipswich we are trying to create pathways for our kids to play at the highest level while remaining in the city of Ipswich," he said. "This facility will help Ipswich cricket do that."
While matches are already being played at the venue, the new buildings will be christened by some cricket greats when the Queensland Masters play a charity match on Baxter Oval next month.