Levin’s own field of dreams
‘‘Our goal is to bring first class cricket to Levin. ’’
Cricket fans are familiar with the hallowed grounds of the Basin Reserve and Eden Park, but what about Donnelly Park?
The name could have more prominence if plans to bring firstclass cricket matches to Levin come to fruition.
Like the Field of Dreams movie scenario of ‘build it and they will come’, the Levin Cricket Foundation hopes a $160,000 expansion to its indoor training centre at Donnelly Park will help it meet New Zealand Cricket’s ‘warrant of fitness’ standards for first-class match venues.
The project would see a second level built to the Basil Netten Indoor Centre, incorporating separate changing and bathroom facilities for two cricket teams, an umpires room, kitchenette and veranda. Match officials would occupy the existing downstairs office space looking out to the field.
Horowhenua Ka¯piti Cricket Association chief executive Dave O’Brien said the closest venue currently able to host first-class matches was the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
‘‘There is potential collaboration opportunities with both Cricket Wellington and Central Districts due to Levin’s proximity, which is exciting for our community,’’ O’Brien said.
Throughout the Central Districts region, only three venues currently met the standards required to host Plunket Shield matches - McLean Park and Nelson Park, both in Napier, and Saxton Oval in Nelson.
‘‘Our goal is to bring first class cricket to Levin. It would be great to host our own Central Districts Stags,’’ O’Brien said.
‘‘With that being said, the local cricketing community will be the main beneficiary of the improvements. We are committed to making sure the district’s cricketing community have quality facilities to improve their playing enjoyment and overall experience.
‘‘As much as we’d like it to happen, we’re not expecting to one day host the Black Caps against another international team - we wouldn’t have the capacity. However, if we get our facility and the ongoing work to our grounds right, we could put our hands up to host other big matches such as future women’s World Cup or under-19s World Cup events.’’
Building consent approval was expected within days, with construction to begin next week and hopefully completed in five weeks - in time for domestic matches between the Central Districts Hinds and Wellington Blaze women’s teams, from November 24 to 26. A Central Districts A versus Wellington A men’s match was scheduled for January.
‘‘The Central Districts Association have given us this golden opportunity to showcase our fantastic facilities and wider community,’’ O’Brien said.
Central Districts Cricket Association chief executive Pete de Wet said he fully supported the Levin Cricket Foundation’s plans for Donnelly Park.
The planned expansion to the Basil Netten Indoor Centre had been made possible after Horowhenua District Council last week approved a $100,000 nointerest loan to the foundation.
The loan would be funded from the council’s cash reserves, meaning no rates impact, and would be required to be repaid by the Levin Cricket Foundation within 10 years.
Councillor Bernie Wanden said he was a former Horowhenua cricket representative and applauded the efforts being made to bring first-class cricket to the district.
‘‘I had the honour of playing with Basil Netten and I’d say he’s be smiling in his grave at what was being done,’’ Wanden said.