Club says no to artificial wickets
Onehunga Cricket is rallying against proposed concrete artificial wickets at Waikaraka Park.
The park is being earmarked for development and the wickets are part of its concept plan.
The current configuration of Waikaraka Park is seven natural grass wicket blocks with up to four cricket wickets per block.
Onehunga Cricket secretary Tim Plant says they agree that there needs to be an artificial option to complement the existing grass, but are opposed to concrete because he says it is the worst possible option.
‘‘Advances in materials and design technology over the last two decades mean there are now better options available, they are better playing surfaces, there is less risk of injury - they are more cost effective than concrete and do not affect any other sport using the park,’’ Plant says.
He adds all their 12 teams prefer to play on grass and new members joining the club do so because of this reason.
Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board chairman Simon Randall says the board agrees in principle with the installation of four artificial wickets as this allowed for increased utilisation of the park while minimising impact on other sporting codes.
This option was also supported by Auckland Cricket.
‘‘[We’ve] requested that officers come back with a detailed design for these and options to fund these,’’ Randall says.
The Auckland Regional Cricket Facilities Plan 2011 highlighted a shortfall of six cricket pitches in the central area, which rises to 13 when Waikaraka Park is closed due to weather conditions, and a projected shortfall of 32 pitches by 2021.
The plan goes on to highlight Waikaraka Park as a priority facility to meet the projected needs of cricket in Auckland and increase junior use.
Onehunga shares the field with Classic Cricket NZ, Onehunga Mallers, Cricket Society and the Cornwall Cricket’s junior teams. Onehunga Football’s senior teams also have regular training sessions there.
Auckland Cricket operations manager Anthony Bowler says the installation of artificial wickets adjacent to the current grass wickets would significantly improve hourly usage of the wickets, particularly for Cornwall junior cricket.