Cricket NSW move backfires after storm over 'embarrassing' call for Marsh Cup final

Western Australia thumped NSW to win a third-straight domestic one-day title.

Western Australia, pictured here after beating NSW to win the Marsh Cup title at Cricket Central.
Western Australia beat NSW to win the Marsh Cup cricket title. Image: Getty

The controversial decision from Cricket NSW to host the Marsh Cup final at Cricket Central and not a more fan-friendly venue backfired spectacularly on Sunday as Western Australia scored a thumping win. Hilton Cartwright and Joel Paris powered WA to a five-wicket victory over NSW in the one-day cup final, securing a historic third-straight title for the men from the West.

WA set up their latest limited overs triumph when they rolled NSW for just 169 at Cricket Central at Sydney Olympic Park. They reached their target of 5-170 with more than 16 overs to spare when Cartwright, who made his first half-century of the season with 73 not out, blasted a six out of the ground.

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Cartwright hit three sixes and seven fours and was named player of the match. "NSW had the momentum when I walked out there to bat and at that time it was just about rotating the strike between me and Josh Philippe," Cartwright told reporters post-match about WA's shaky start of 3-30.

"As soon as we grabbed that momentum we started running with it and got a small partnership. We knew as soon as we got to 130 or 140 it would break the game open for us, so it was just about that initial break of momentum against their bowlers."

Jack Edwards, pictured here in the Marsh Cup final against Western Australia at Cricket Central.
Jack Edwards bowls for NSW in the Marsh Cup final against Western Australia at Cricket Central. (Getty Images)

Fury over 'embarrassing' call to play at Cricket Central

The decision to play at Cricket Central backfired on NSW amid calls to move the final to a location that would hold more spectators. Cricket Central has little or no grandstand or undercover seating, limited parking and no easily accessible public transport, with fans even told to bring their own chairs.

The Cricket NSW website features the recommendation: "Limited public seating is available. We recommend bringing your own camping chair or similar."

Spectators, pictured here at Cricket Central for the Marsh Cup final.
Spectators were asked to bring their own chairs to Cricket Central for the Marsh Cup final. Image: Getty

The SCG was unavailable due to preparations for the upcoming AFL season, but smaller grounds like North Sydney Oval and Hurstville Oval weren't seriously pursued. It was initially put down to a clash with Sydney's grade cricket competition, but a Cricket NSW spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo Sport Australia that Cricket Central was chosen because the Blues had beaten WA there earlier in the season.

"We had the option of playing the match at Cricket Central or North Sydney Oval but Cricket Central, as the Blues home base, was preferred," the spokesperson said. "NSW beat Western Australia at the same venue earlier this season and that was also a factor."

One official with knowledge of the situation told Yahoo Sport Australia that a compromise could have been reached. "They could have moved the North Sydney grade game to Cricket Central and played the Marsh Cup final at North Sydney," the official said last week. "But they (Cricket NSW) chose not to do that and Cricket Australia just went along with it. It's embarrassing and a lot of people are not happy with it."

Western Australia make Australian domestic cricket history

NSW captain Moises Henriques played a straight bat when asked about the situation. "It's a decision for the association rather than me," he told Yahoo Sport Australia. "I'm not sure why or what (was behind the Cricket Central decision). I don’t know. I was happy enough either way given we’ve played on both grounds throughout the season."

WA became just the second state to claim a hat-trick of one-day domestic titles, and the first in more than two decades. NSW last achieved the feat for the second time in 2001-03.

It was WA's sixth one-day title in the last decade and a record-extending 17th overall since the competition began in 1969. "A lot of us are getting towards the tail ends of our careers and you understand how much these moments actually mean," Cartwright said. "I know it's five of the last seven (titles) but in the moment it certainly doesn't feel like that and you take them as good as gold."

with Adam Lucius and AAP

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