A big summer of ACT cricket has kicked off this month with twelve regional cricket teams vying for a place in the final for the coveted Konica Minolta Twenty20 Cup.
Konica Minolta has proudly supported ACT cricket for the past 16 years. Our association with Cricket ACT began back in 1995 with sponsorship of the Prime Ministers XI, and has since evolved over the years into what is known today as the Konica Minolta Twenty20 Cup.
The competition started as a regional one-day cricket match in the ACT with the objective of developing young talent within the local Canberra teams.
Today, the Konica Minolta Twenty20 Cup first grade competition has spread to other regional areas including Albury Wodonga, Newcastle and the South Coast. This year, each team will play four round matches throughout November, competing for a place in the final on January 19 next year.
The idea for a local one day competition was first envisioned in 1997, when the CEO of Cricket ACT pieced together a plan to start a new tournament between local Canberra teams.
Konica (as the company was then) had an existing relationship with Cricket ACT through the annual Prime Ministers XI match. Cricket ACT approached our Canberra state manager, Nan Bak, with the idea of the one day competition, looking for support.
We agreed to become the naming right sponsor as we have always supported the local community”, said Bak. “We were pleased to have the opportunity to extend our contribution and play a part in a new initiative”.
The new tournament commenced in the summer of that year, crowning Western District as the inaugural winners of the Konica Cup.
The competition grew, and for the 1999-2000 season the decision was made to expand to include teams such as Albury, Wagga Wagga and Goulbourn in the contest. The following year saw further expansion to include more regional teams, adding Riverina, Newcastle and Wollongong.
In 2007 the one day format evolved to become a Twenty20 competition.
Now known as the Konica Minolta Twenty20 Cup, it was the evolution in 2001 that changed the competition into a revolutionary model that is still unlike any other regional cricket competition in Australia.
Expanding the contest to include teams from regions outside of the city and beyond the state borders meant that promising young players from country towns no longer needed to re-locate to the city to develop their career.
Schools also benefitted from the development of regional teams as local hubs of coaching expertise and resources. These no longer needed to be dispatched from the city clubs to teach the game in rural areas.
The Konica Minolta Twenty20 Cup competition was ground breaking in that it mobilised resources and improved access to the opportunity to progress”, says current ACT Cricket CEO, Mark Vergano.
Over the years the Konica Minolta Cup competition has played an important part in the development of a large number of players through their younger years who have gone on to professional contracts with State Cricket Clubs, the Big Bash and even onto selection in the Australian Team.
Well-known names include current Australian cricketers, Brad Haddin and Nathan Lyon.
This year the final match will be played for the first time under lights at Manuka Oval.
In 2012, a long campaign to have lights installed at the oval resulted in the installation of six 47-metre high light towers funded by both the federal and territory governments. CEO of Cricket ACT, Mark Vergano, says that the success campaign was due to the many dedicated supporters, including Konica Minolta and Nan Bak.
The new broadcast lighting at Manuka Oval means the ground is now able to attract world-class sporting events to Canberra”, he said.
Vergano is equally as complimentary about Konica Minolta’s support generally to ACT Cricket.
;We’re only as good as our sponsorship support. The longevity of the partnership with Konica Minolta in the Twenty20 Cup has made it possible to develop the competition to where it is today”.
Today Konica Minolta is also a minor sponsor of the ACT Women’s Cricket team, the Meteors.
Managing Director David Cooke says, “Konica Minolta has been very much a part of the cricket fraternity in the ACT for many years and is very proud of our involvement and contribution.