Bradman Oval has become a contentious topic in the cricket community.
Some members of the Highlands District Cricket Association are up in arms that Bowral Cricket Club teams will be given priority use of the world-renowned cricket pitch.
However, Bradman Centre executive director Rina Hore has defended the decision stating that BCC had worked closely with Bradman Foundation over the last five years to beautify and maintain Bradman Oval.
She said that the foundation was also supporting the HDCA strategic plan for all Highlands clubs to identify with a home ground.
"At the end of the day BCC doesn't have a home ground as other clubs do - although Bowral traditionally identified with this oval as its home ground long before the Bradman Foundation took over," she said.
News that BCC should be allocated home games at Bradman Oval came in a letter to HDCA members from Ms Hore.
The letter stated:
"I have been advised that the First Grade competition will again consist of four teams. We are aware that Welby and Lackey Park have been improved considerably thanks to a strong commitment by the HDCA to improve turf wickets in the Highlands. It is fabulous for local cricket that both Welby and Lackey Park are available due to the investment via fees, from the local first grade players is being realised.
"Therefore this season with first grade needing only two of three turf pitches and a second grade game being played on turf each week, we expected that BCC will be allocated Bradman Oval for all Saturdays the ground is available. We want to ensure that BCC seconds will be allocated matches on Bradman Oval when BCC first grade are allocated to play away at Welby or Lackey Park."
Another section of the letter addressed the reasoning behind the important changes to how matches would be allocated at the oval with priority to BCC.
It said "In 2017, the BCC agreed to provide Bradman Foundation with assistance to maintain and prepare the oval facilities for use by local grade cricket.
"A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was put in place with a variety of agreements as to contain the raising costs. One key outcome was to raise a considerable amount of funds to upgrade the practice nets at Bradman Oval.
"They have raised $180,000 and a new four lane facility is currently being built. This will be a fabulous community asset and the efforts by the two organisations have been an excellent example of what collaboration can deliver."
Moss Vale Cricket Club secretary Scott McVie said the announcement meant that the upcoming weekend (November 8) match between Hill Top/Northern Villages and Wingello Tigers that was scheduled on Bradman Oval would have to be moved.
He said this would be to allow for a Bowral team, either first or second grade to be played on Bradman Oval.
"There are currently eight senior grade clubs in the HDCA competition, seven of which are not happy with this development," he said.
"Bradman Oval has always been a shared facility across the HDCA First Grade Competition as have the other turf wicket fields that are available.
"This was the agreement made between the clubs many years ago and has worked well since."
Mr McVie said that for one club to be granted sole access to the Bradman complex "is ridiculous and will severely damage the local cricket competition."
"It gives an enormous advantage to Bowral to attract new players, sponsors etc that other clubs can't compete with," he said.
"Cricket in the Highlands will die a certain death if this is allowed to proceed."
HDCA director of senior competitions and representative cricket Jack Whitfield said the board was working through the problem.
"We recognise the sentiment among clubs and we are working towards a solution to resolve the problem and keep everyone happy," he said.
He could not confirm at the time of going to press whether or not the weekend match between Hill Top/Northern Villages and Wingello would be relocated.
Ms Hore said the Bradman Foundation the HDCA's strategic document from two years ago advised that it wanted all clubs to take responsibility for their home grounds. "We support the HDCA with its strategic plan," she said.
Ms Hore said that clubs such as Wingello and Moss Vale had embraced the plan with their respective home grounds at Wingello and Lackey Park.
"Bowral didn't have an official home ground so they came to the Bradman Foundation to offer support for Bradman Oval," she said.
"The club has helped us enormously ever since and has raised more than $180,000 to go towards projects at the oval.
"We are not asking for the existing matches to be rescheduled - all we are asking is for BCC to play at Bradman Oval as a home ground."
Ms Hore said that the Bradman Foundation provided facilities to Highlands cricket clubs for meetings, coaching clinics and other activities.
"We are very supportive of Highlands cricket," she said.
"We cover all physical costs of providing these facilities, but we need a workforce and BCC offered to help.
"The Bradman Foundation is extremely committed to developing cricket in the Highlands and under the leadership of Simon Taufel all community grounds are being reviewed and improved.
"Simon and his board should be acknowledged and celebrated for what has been achieved at Stephens Park, O'Reilly Oval, Lackey, Welby and Exeter. The Bradman Foundation supports the HDCA strategic direction for clubs taking responsibility for improving the facilities in their towns and villages."