North Sydney Oval

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North Sydney Oval
Starlight cinema at North Sydney Oval.jpg
Outdoor cinema with inflatable movie screen
Location North Sydney, New South Wales
Coordinates 33°49′55″S 151°12′34″E / 33.83194°S 151.20944°E / -33.83194; 151.20944Coordinates: 33°49′55″S 151°12′34″E / 33.83194°S 151.20944°E / -33.83194; 151.20944
Owner North Sydney Council
Operator North Sydney Council
Capacity 20,000[1]
Surface Grass
Opened 1867 (redeveloped 1929, 1931, 1983, 1985)
North Sydney Bears (NSWRL) (1910–1999)
North Sydney Bears (NSW Cup) (2000-present)
NSW Blues Cricket
North Sydney Cricket Club
Northern Suburbs Rugby Club (1900–present)
Northern Spirit (NSL) (1997–2003)

North Sydney Oval is a multi-use sporting facility in North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, owned and operated by North Sydney Council. First used as a cricket ground in 1867, it is also used for rugby league and rugby union, and previously for soccer.



The oval in 2004
  • The first cricket pitch was laid on 6 December 1867, making it one of the oldest cricket grounds in Australia.
  • The first structure built, in 1879, was a simple pavilion overlooking the cricket ground. This was replaced by another pavilion which in turn was replaced by what is now the Duncan Thompson Stand in 1929.
  • The venue was renovated in 1931 due to complaints that the surface was 'like concrete' and that the ground was liable to cause serious injury to players. Nonetheless, as late as the 1980s, the ground was sometimes referred to as "Concrete Park".
  • In 1935 the timber fence was replaced by a high brick wall and concrete terrace seating 1,200 people was built.
  • Between 1983 and 1988 major renovations were undertaken. The old grandstand was named after North Sydney Bears player Duncan Thompson. New stands were built and named after cricketers Bill O'Reilly, Charlie Macartney and Mollie Dive. In 1983, the venerable Bob Stand was moved to North Sydney Oval from the Sydney Cricket Ground. The hill became known as the Doug Walters Stand.
  • Drainage and irrigation systems were installed and the pitch was re-laid in 1989.
  • In 1992 the oval won a Sydney Cricket Association award for "Ground of the Year".
  • In 2016 the historic sports field had extensive renovations to ensure that North Sydney Oval is identified as a first-class venue for major sporting events.

These included installation of a portable drop-in cricket wicket and improved field lighting. Designed to allow North Sydney oval to become a dual-purpose venue, the drop-in cricket wicket is prepared off the playing surface and transported back into position for use – allowing for a better playing field.

North Sydney Oval first trialed the technology in 1998, when cricket wicket technology was in its early stages. Since then, the technology has improved substantially and is used by many premier sporting stadiums including Sydney Showground Stadium, Adelaide Oval and the MCG.

This recent upgrade has enabled the wicket to be produced in a controlled environment away from any traffic on the field and has also allowed the Oval to comply with various football codes requirements whereby the cricket pitch can be removed from the centre field resulting in a full football surface for scheduled matches.


Rugby league

North Sydney Oval has been the home ground of the North Sydney Bears since their inception in 1908. The club currently plays in the NSWRL VB NSW Cup and still attracts spectators to home games at the oval. Only two grounds have hosted more first grade rugby league matches.

In 2004, South Sydney Rabbitohs experimented with playing two home games at the ground. The first match between Souths and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles attracted 14,855 spectators.

The ground record crowd of 23,089 was set on 13 May 1994 for a Round 10 match with North Sydney taking on local rivals Manly. The Sea Eagles won the match 11–8.

Legendary North Sydney Bears, New South Wales and Australian winger Ken Irvine, who played 176 games and scored 633 points for the Bears (171 tries, 59 goals and 1 field goal) between 1958 and 1970 before transferring to Manly from 1971–73 before retiring, has the scoreboard at the oval named in his honour.

The last ever first grade game North Sydney played here was on August 22, 1999 against Melbourne. North Sydney won the match 24-20. The last ever first grade game played at the oval was on May 21, 2005 when South Sydney played a home match here against The Auckland Warriors. Auckland Warriors went on to win the game 34-16.[2]

As part of the Central Coast Bears' bid to enter the NRL, the Bears plan to play one home game a year against Manly if their bid is successful.

In 2015 it was announced that North Sydney Oval would be receiving an upgrade. The upgrades will continue until the year 2019/2020. Upgrades will include:[3][4]

  • A new bar, kiosk and merchandising facility improvements
  • Upgrading of player and officials change rooms and establishment of medical rooms and press facilities
  • Improvements to corporate facilities and Duncan Thompson Stand restoration/refurbishment
  • Steel drainpipe and structural remediation work for McCartney, O'Reilly, Mollie Dive and Bob stands
  • CCTV system installed
  • Refurbishment of media broadcasting facilities
  • Provision of an outdoor video screen
  • Improvements to the public announcement system
  • Review of seating requirements – new grandstand seating
  • Outdoor video screen installation

In 2018, North Sydney Oval hosted the inaugural State of Origin women's match where New South Wales defeated Queensland 16-10.[5] Also in 2018, North Sydney Oval was featured in a Channel 9 game for the first time since 1999 when Norths played against the Western Suburbs Magpies.[6]


The New South Wales Blues cricket team play regular Sheffield Shield, Ryobi Cup and Twenty20 Cricket matches at the Oval. The oval hosted the final of the inaugural Twenty20 domestic knock-out cup competition between NSW Blues and Victorian Bushrangers. It also plays home to the North Sydney Grade club. The ground was the host for 6 group matches and the final of the 2009 Women's Cricket World Cup.

It has hosted 5 women's test matches, with Australia playing England there in 1957/58, 1968/69 and 1991/92, 2017 (which was also the first even day-night Women's Test match) and India in 1990/91 and 12 one day internationals. New South Wales have played 3 first class matches there and 21 List A one-day games.

In September and October 2013 Sydney will host the 2013–14 Ryobi One-Day Cup. North Sydney Oval was chosen as one of the host venues along with Bankstown, Hurstville, Drummoyne ovals and the Blacktown AFL/Cricket Stadium, with North Sydney and Bankstown being the two venues used for nationally broadcast games on Channel 9 and on their HD station GEM. North Sydney will host seven games of the 20 game tournament, including the playoff for 3rd and 4th on 24 October and the final to be played on 27 October.

Rugby union

Rugby union has been played at the St Leonards Park complex since the late 1890s with the North Shore Football Club (known as the 'Pirates') playing matches there. In 1900 North Shore merged with the Wallaroos club to form Northern Suburbs Rugby Club and has had North Sydney Oval as their home ground ever since, playing all their home games in the Shute Shield at the ground.

The stadium was also briefly home to the Sydney Fleet during the short lived (single season) Australian Rugby Championship. With the elimination of this competition, Rugby events at the oval are limited to Northern Suburbs home games and promotional activities held by the Australian Rugby Union such as Wallaby 'Fan Days' and open training sessions.


North Sydney Oval was the home ground for Northern Spirit FC (now known as GHFA Spirit FC), a now defunct club of the defunct Australian National Soccer League. In its inaugural season in 1998, an average of 15,000 spectators attended Northern Spirit FC games at North Sydney Oval including 18,985 for their first game against Sydney Olympic FC. It is generally accepted that North Sydney Oval is a poor venue for football. The ground is hard and compacted to cater for cricket, and for many months there is a cricket pitch in the middle of the ground. Northern Spirit FC paid to have a removable cricket pitch installed, but the ongoing costs of this were prohibitive. Northern Spirit also obtained government funding for half of the new lighting installed, while NSFC paid the other half. This was a major success for the club as before the new permanent lighting was installed, the older lighting was not bright enough to allow television broadcasts of night games. For 2 years Northern Spirit had hired a large amount of lighting for each game to get around the problem.

In August 2013, it was announced that Hyundai A-League side Central Coast Mariners will host a community round match against New Zealand side Wellington Phoenix at the oval on 19 December. This will be the first time an A-League match will be played at North Sydney Oval since it superseded the National Soccer League as the top Australian league in football.[7]

In June 2014 the Mariners announced their intention to play at least one home game per season at North Sydney Oval, starting with their Round 10 fixture against Melbourne Victory.[8]

Australian rules

The Australian Football League club, Sydney Swans, has played a number of matches at the oval against both Sydney Football League opposition and an annual exhibition match against fellow AFL team Essendon.

In 2005 the Sydney Swans played a pre-season friendly match against Essendon in front of a crowd of 9,654.

In the 2006 match, a full strength Essendon (89) defeated the young outfit of the reigning premiers (71) in front of a crowd of 8,461.

In 2007, the Collingwood replaced Essendon in what has become a regular pre-season friendly against the Swans over the past five years. In the 2007 match held on Friday 16 February, Sydney (66) defeated Collingwood (51) in front of a crowd of 9,560.[9]

Sunset cinema

Since 2003, North Sydney Oval has been used during evenings in January and February as a venue for outdoor cinema on an inflatable screen.

International cricket centuries

North Sydney Oval

Women's Test centuries

Three WTest centuries have been scored at the venue.[10]

No. Score Player Team Balls Opposing team Date Result
1 104 Belinda Clark  Australia  India 26 January 1991 Drawn
2 148* Denise Annetts  Australia 375  England 19 February 1992 Won
3 213* Ellyse Perry  Australia 374  England 9 November 2017 Drawn

Women's One Day International centuries

Three WODI centuries have been scored at the venue.[11]

No. Score Player Team Balls Opposing team Date Result
1 109 Amy Satterthwaite  New Zealand 119  Australia 14 December 2012 Lost
2 103 Meg Lanning  Australia 50  New Zealand 17 December 2012 Won
3 102 Lizelle Lee  South Africa 89  Australia 23 November 2016 Lost

Women's T20 International centuries

One WT20I century has been scored at the venue.[12]

No. Score Player Team Balls Opposing Team Date Result
1 117 Beth Mooney  Australia -  England 21 November 2017 Lost

North Sydney Oval No. 2

Women's One Day International centuries

One WODI century has been scored at the venue.[13]

No. Score Player Team Balls Opposing team Date Result
1 114 Nicki Turner  New Zealand  Netherlands 4 December 1988 Won

International cricket five-wicket hauls

Women's Test five-wicket hauls

There are two WTest five-wicket hauls that have been taken at this venue.[14]

# Figures Country Player Opponent Date Result
1 5/51  England Lesley Clifford  Australia 25 January 1969 Drawn
2 5/49  Australia Lorraine Kutcher  England 25 January 1969 Drawn

Women's One Day International five-wicket hauls

There is one WODI five-wicket haul that has been taken at this venue.[15]

# Figures Country Player Opponent Date Result
1 5/15  England Laura Marsh  Pakistan 12 March 2009 Won


  1. ^ "North Sydney Oval". Austadiums. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ "Mariners to start Season 10 with F3 Derby". Football Federation Australia. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  9. ^ Australian Stadiums :: AFL Pre-Season: SYD v COLL
  10. ^ "Statistics / Statsguru / Women's Test Matches / Batting records". Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Statistics / Statsguru / Women's One-Day Internationals / Batting records". Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  12. ^ "statistics / Statsguru /".
  13. ^ "Statistics / Statsguru / Women's One-Day Internationals / Batting records (No. 2 Ground)". Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  14. ^ "Statistics / Statsguru / Womens Test Matches / Bowling Records". Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  15. ^ "Statistics / Statsguru / Womens One-Day Internationals / Bowling Records". Retrieved 14 November 2017.
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