Over the last few years, the Armidale sport community has dealt with some tough blows but now there's something to get excited about.
Armidale District Cricket Association president Mike Porter believes the Australian Cricketers' Association Masters tournament hosted next week will give the town the "kick-along" it needs.
The previous 2019-20 season was first affected by drought reducing the wickets around town before the bushfires further hampered playing conditions and then grand finals weren't able to be played due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Masters tournament set down for Thursday and Friday next week will bring current and former cricket stars to Armidale.
Melbourne Renegades' Josh Lalor, former Australian Test and One Day International player Greg Matthews are just two of the big names coming to town.
Porter said the Masters features a series of clinics for juniors over the course of the two days and the highlight will be a Twenty20 match on Friday night from 6pm between the Masters players and an Armidale select team.
"We hope it will be good for Armidale cricket, it will showcase our game and give somewhere for the people to come on the Friday night, the 26th, to enjoy the social aspect of cricket under lights," he said.
"We are looking forward to it.
"It will be a fun night, hopefully we will have a roaming microphone on the field as well and it will make it a spectacular spectator sport for people to come along.
"It is more a promotion thing and it is about geeing up the community after COVID and the bushfires and all that sort of thing, we really need a kick-along.
"We want to see the Armidale people here especially but hopefully people from Guyra, Uralla and Walcha come along. That would be great.
"People should come along.
"It is gold coin entry at the gate.
"A night for people to be entertained."
Not only will the Armidale community have the chance to witness some superstars in action but two of Armidale's young stars, Sam Johnson and Vanessa Simpson, have the chance to play alongside them.
The duo are up for two $1000 scholarships on offer for up-and-coming cricketers as well as joining the teams for the Twenty20 fixture.
The opportunity to host the Masters came about after Armidale Regional Council applied and received a grant.
Mayor Ian Tiley said not only is it excellent for local sports fans, but it will give the town an economic boost as well.
"I am hearing for the T20 match on the Friday night there could be 3000 people but there is also other events like a meet and greet at the bowling club on the Wednesday night and I understand that the proceeds of that go to the Armidale District Cricket Association," he said.
"Through people who come and stay here, put money in restaurants and so on, it is really important to our economy and it is great that it is happening from that perspective.
"There's been a constellation of catastrophes over the last 12, 18 months, or even longer than that and some businesses have closed but I think the spirit in Armidale is something that enthuses me because people are fighters, they are not going to lie down.
"Something like this picks them up again and makes them want to get on with living and enjoy life.
"It is so vital that people have outlets; that they can enjoy things on a social basis and it also helps our economy."
More superstar players will be announced in the lead up to the tournament.
Thursday, February 25 - from 6pm until 8pm there will be a Sporties function night with the Masters at Armidale City Bowling Club.
Friday, February 26 - Golf with the Masters from 9am, Primary School Clinic at the Sportsground from 2pm to 4pm and the Twenty20 match at the Sportsground from 6pm.