The fourth ANZ One Day International between the BLACKCAPS and South Africa, scheduled to be played at Napier’s McLean Park on March 1, has been transferred to Hamilton.
An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the recently abandoned ANZ ODI against Australia at McLean Park has highlighted a need for urgent remedial work on the venue’s turf, drainage, and irrigation system.
Consequently, both New Zealand Cricket and the Napier City Council agree it’s in the best interests of McLean Park’s cricketing future to move the upcoming ODI, and avoid what has been described as “an unacceptable risk” of a repeat drainage failure.
The decision means the fourth ANZ ODI against South Africa will now be hosted at Seddon Park, Hamilton, starting at 2pm.
Those patrons who had already purchased tickets to the ODI against South Africa at McLean Park will receive full refunds.
NZC Chief Operating Officer Anthony Crummy said the findings of the investigation left few options open but the one agreed.
“There have been shortcomings identified in McLean Park’s drainage and irrigation system which need to be remedied before we can be confident of avoiding what happened in the Chappell-Hadlee fixture,” he said.
“The investigation concludes that drought conditions in the Hawke’s Bay necessitated significant levels of watering in the days leading up to the match which, combined with a limited drainage infrastructure and rain on match-day, resulted in a worst-case scenario.
“It’s true, several measures could be employed to help mitigate this risk ahead of the South Africa match but, even then, any period of significant or extended rain in the lead-up would likely result in the same outcome.
“NZC, the Central Districts Cricket Association and the NCC agree this risk is unacceptable.”
Mr Crummy noted a complete review of the McLean Park outfield was undertaken following the abandonment of the West Indies ODI in 2013, and as part of preparations for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 - resulting in an upgrade of the drainage in the area in front of the Harris Stand.
The latest review completed by Sports Surface Design and Management (SSDM) revealed deterioration to the drainage that could only be addressed by installing a full replacement system.
“This has been a difficult time for those involved with staging cricket at McLean Park and, not least, the cricket-loving public within the Hawke’s Bay,” said Mr Crummy.
“However, both NZC and the NCC believe the best way to future-proof the region’s ability to host international cricket is to transfer the scheduled fourth ANZ ODI against South Africa.
Planning on remedial work will begin as soon as possible.
“By doing this, we can look forward with confidence to McLean Park hosting next summer’s ODIs between the BLACKCAPS and England, and the BLACKCAPS and Pakistan.”
Anthony Crummy and New Zealand Cricket CEO David White. Image: www.photosport.nz
Mr Crummy commended the NCC on committing to a $900,000 upgrade of McLean Park, with planning to start immediately on installing a complete replacement of the playing surface, drainage and irrigation system, on top of an existing commitment to build drop-in pitches, improve the lighting, and build practice facilities on site.
He said NZC had taken on board criticism of in-venue communications during the abandoned match, and was refining more detailed messaging on the state of play to ensure information was conveyed in a clear, timely and concise manner.
Mayor of Napier, Bill Dalton, said the decision was not an easy one to make and that he’s “bitterly disappointed on behalf of the fans, the players and the Council.
“In essence, we have a fantastic ground in a superb location but the turf is old and has deteriorated dramatically in the face of the recent drought conditions in the Hawke’s Bay.
“There are issues with the organic matter beneath the surface of the ground – issues we didn’t know about and are now urgently dealing with.”
Central Districts chief executive Pete De Wet said he was extremely disappointed for the CD cricket community and, particularly, those in the Hawke’s Bay - but said the decision to transfer the South Africa ODI was the only responsible course of action.
“Make no mistake, this decision hasn’t been arrived at lightly and comes as a real blow for all involved,” he said.
“Having said that, I think we have to feel encouraged by the determination of the NCC to invest in McLean Park and create a top-class international cricket venue.”
Key Refund Information
If you bought your tickets online or over the telephone, the full amount will be returned to your original payment card over the next few days.
However, if you purchased your ticket at a retailer, then you’ll need to return to the store for your refund to be processed.
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