No first-class cricket for park

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    IT is not only the wet outfield of Queens Park which is scuttling first-class cricket in Invercargill.

    New Zealand Cricket ruled out first-class cricket in Invercargill this summer when it put the venue’s warrant of fitness (WOF) on hold until it is satisfied improvements have been made.

    That means no first-class or men’s and women’s limited-overs games will be held at the venue this summer.

    Questions were raised about its suitability when a first-class game between Otago and Auckland in March was ruined due to a combination of wet weather and poor drainage.

    The venue’s WOF was put under review and following an independent report, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has decided not to schedule any games there this season.

    NZC head of turf management Ian McKendry said there was some significant drainage issues at the duck pond end of the ground which have now been addressed.

    But the report brought to light several other issues which will need to be rectified.

    The soil structure has been identified as not as permeable as it could be and, therefore, the ground drains very slowly at the duck pond end.

    Good for ducks but not so good for cricket.

    McKendry said sand slits would help improve the drainage.

    Club cricket and Hawke Cup cricket will still be played on the ground and a close eye would be kept on the grounds while continuing to work with Southland Cricket in terms of drainage performance before the WOF was revisited.

    “It is a shame it has come to this point. But if we work together we can get on top of it and Queens Park remains an important cricket ground and we want to see first-class cricket played there.”

    Southland Cricket Association chairman Gerry Ward said they were disappointed but understood the venue needed to meet certain standards, and they would work towards getting the required work done.

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