Clubs urged to accept Hagley redevelopment
Last updated 05:00 16/02/2012
Canterbury Cricket chief executive Lee Germon fears for the game's future in Christchurch unless approval is gained for a new-look floodlit Hagley Oval to host all forms of the game.
Canterbury Cricket has advised clubs of a bold plan so the province can host matches at the 2015 Cricket World Cup – to be staged in Australia and New Zealand – but it means club teams being forced from the oval.
The concept is another step up on the previous plan of upgrading Hagley Oval to host test and first-class matches.
With uncertainty still surrounding the viability of AMI Stadium in terms of hosting limited-overs matches, Germon says action is needed now to have a ground approved in time by the International Cricket Council.
Canterbury Cricket was in talks with the council last month and last week advised the century-old clubs at the ground, Riccarton and St Albans, of the proposals.
"I believe it is crucial that we have a ground capable of hosting World Cup games, otherwise we risk being left behind and becoming a backwater," Germon said.
However, the clubs concerned are less than impressed at the prospect and want to see more details.
Germon's revamped proposal is for:
A full, low-rise embankment sweeping around the ground capable of hosting 10,000-15,000 spectators.
Floodlights, either portable or retractable.
A low-rise, permanent player pavilion in the south-east area of the ground.
Germon said ICC approval and quality fixtures would require seating for more than 10,000. He said the bank would be supplemented by some temporary seating on the top to swell the numbers.
Germon said getting the ground under way was a matter of urgency. Matches needed to be played on the new pitch block next year "to tick all the boxes in time for the ICC".
The draw for the World Cup takes place in November 2013.
Diggers and earthmoving equipment would be ready to move into the oval on April 1 as soon as the current season was over.
Germon said permission would not be needed to start work on a new pitch block.
Clubs were presented with a number of options, which included keeping the pavilions where they were and relocating their playing pitches to the Sports Centre and Polo grounds in adjoining parts of the park.
There was also the suggestion of moving to the suburbs and linking with clubs with strong junior memberships such as Halswell or possibly merging into one club.
The latter would not happen, said St Albans president Alan Jamieson after a brief discussion with a Riccarton official.
Jamieson said his club was disinclined to start making any plans to move until a number of issues had been clarified.
They included funding for the venture, resource approval under the Hagley Park Management Plan, the situation around AMI Stadium, and any installation of floodlights.
"We believe Canterbury cricket need to get all these issues resolved before we could look at moving," he said. "And then we would like to know what would be done to facilitate any shift.
"We don't want to have to uproot everything and then find not everything is in place."
Jamieson said the situation surrounding AMI Stadium was still unclear and he understood its repair depended on how much money might be available.
Riccarton have also held a committee meeting and chairman Michael Devine said the club's view was similar to St Albans'.
He said the meeting this week was "robust" and there was no clear mandate yet.
"We were concerned over the ramifications over the logistics of the proposal."
- © Fairfax NZ Newshttp://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/cricket/64 ... evelopment
If Canterbury Cricket get their own venue and AMI needs substantial work - which it will - I think we've seen the last game played at AMI.
Surely they'd just build a rectangular stadium for the Rugby, possibly a Forsyth Barr clone.
This would be the best outcome for Canterbury Cricket. 15,000 with room for temporary seats is big enough for ODI's and small enough that they could start hosting tests again.