Monday, September 1, 2008

Canterbury Cricket Want Hagley Oval as Test Cricket Venue

The Canterbury Cricket Association (CCA) and New Zealand Cricket want Hagley Oval located in Hagley Park to serve as the CCA’s headquarters and the provincial and test cricket venue in Christchurch.

They'll have to move the sheep first.... Actually, this is North Hagley Park, the Oval is in South Hagley Park and the sheep are long gone. Postcard by Muir & Moodie circa 1905

Christchurch has been denied a test venue since Canterbury cricket was no longer able to use Lancaster Park, now AMI stadium for its games or for test cricket over a decade ago. Since then Canterbury games have been played at QE II's Village Green – a wind swept, sunburn bowl.

Canterbury Wizards v Northern Districts, Jan 6 2007 at the QE II Village Green

Moving the venue back closer to the centre of the city would be a return to the location of Canterbury cricketing activity at the club level over many decades. Spectators might enjoy some more tree shade too.

Perhaps too the cricketing elite will be more comfortable back in Hagley, adjacent to the Christ College sports grounds, and away from the less affluent suburbs of the north-eastern coastal suburbs. The well-heeled will have an easier time of it coming in from the upper class neighbourhoods of the north-western suburbs and be able to enjoy their cricket in a more "English-like" setting. Christchurch is still a class-divided town.

The CCA says Hagley “will be a Cricket Oval not an Entertainment Venue with AMI Stadium continuing to host International One Day and Twenty20 Internationals. At Hagley, we envisage low grass embankments and sympathetic refurbishment of the existing buildings for facilities and to house Canterbury Cricket’s offices.”

The Christchurch City Council will hold a meeting on September 11 to consider whether to recommend the Hagley Oval be adopted as Canterbury’s cricket venue.

Let's hope the Christchurch Council & Canterbury Cricket don't hit their stumps on this one...

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