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.

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