A MAJOR $21 million redevelopment of Bellerive Oval will put Hobart in the mix to host an Ashes Test, and without it the state risks losing all international cricket.
That was the stark choice put forward by Cricket Tasmania when it unveiled plans to increase the ground's capacity from 16,000 to 20,000 to the Mercury yesterday.
Importantly for a modern market, it would lift seating from about 10,000 to nearly 15,000.
CT chairman Tony Harrison said that with major redevelopment plans in Perth, Melbourne and Canberra, and upgrades in progress or just completed in Adelaide and Sydney, the cricket market had never been more competitive.
"I think we would have a good chance of getting an Ashes Test," Harrison said.
"It is very hard to say what the Future Tours program is going to look like but we would have a better chance of making a case for six Ashes Tests if we had a venue with a bigger capacity, a much better case for it.
"[The other states] are competing with us for cricket content and I know from my capacity on the Cricket Australia board we are getting requests to play matches in all these places.
"If our venue is not up to scratch, if we don't maintain our venue up to that standard, then we are going to miss out."
The redevelopment would lift the chance for more international games, including in the 2015 one-day World Cup and the expanded Twenty20 Big Bash competition, and would allow the venue to host AFL games.
Harrison said getting North Melbourne to Hobart for regular AFL premiership games would help the cause, and CT would continue discussions with the Kangaroos president James Brayshaw.
"It makes sense from an economic point of view if you are going to spend that sort of money on a redevelopment," he said. "But the point I want to make is the development we have proposed is not a football development."
The new development along the western side of the ground includes removal of the existing Clarence District Cricket Club clubrooms, and will increase seating and include new changerooms as well as coaching boxes and a broadcast area for football.
He said CT had got verbal support from the federal and state governments before this year's elections but had not had any confirmation since.
To get a sixth Ashes Test, England would have to be willing to reciprocate, but has so far been unwilling to do so.
"I want to bid for an Ashes Test match but when I do that, Cricket Australia look at me and say, 'what's the return you are going to give us from your venue?"' Harrison said.
"To be realistic, we're competing with Adelaide and Perth, and we can't provide the same sort of return because we haven't got the capacity."http://www.themercury.com.au/article/20 ... -news.html
Oldish news, but with the Nomads looking set to play a couple of games per season from next year at Bellerive, it's looking pretty likely.
As you can see, it really just involves extending the Soutthern Stand west somewhat, and also extending the pavilion east. Seems to imply that the Church Street end is a no-extension zone (for good reason).
Might improve the oval's potential for hosting large cricket matches, but won't improve its capabilities as a football oval. All of the crowd will still be situated at one end, and we'll still have to deal with the ridiculous situation of having only corporate boxes behind the northern goals.