Friday, 15 August 2014

Fitzherbert Park, why it has no First Class games and should!

Deep on the southeastern side of Palmerston North City (Pop 86,000) lies the historic Fitzherbert Park.  For many long years this park was solely a cricket (summer) and football(winter) ground, but more recently the winter code has been rugby league.  Much like other parks in New Zealand it is a dual purpose ground.  A few years ago this park lost it's NZ Cricket status as a first class ground (Reasons outlined here)  As can be seen, the work required has been completed and it's fair to ponder why the park has missed out on a first class Plunkett Shield match in the coming 14/15 season.

Especially when you line up the competition.  Napier/Hastings (Combined Pop 131,000) have at their disposal McLean Park and Nelson Park.  New Plymouth (pop 53,000) has Pukekura Park and Nelson (pop 46,000) has the new international stadium Saxton Oval.  So given the population base one would think Palmy has rights to more first class cricket right?

Well the pluses and minuses to other venues in the Central Districts region when comparing Palmy's status.

Napier.  Two grounds both with superior player facilities and a greater population base.
New Plymouth.  Smaller ground but a boutique park setting the players and crowd love.  Not sure on player facilities but bound to be better than Palmy. Smaller population.
Nelson.  Newish ground with better player facilities. Smaller population.
Palmerston North.  A great ground but very substandard facilities.

So it is clear Palmy is second only to Napier/Hastings as a metropolitan area and possible viewing numbers but lacks the facilities the players and the crowd desire.  Surely then if we want to have top class cricket in the cricket mad city then the council, Manawatu Cricket, CD Cricket and the national body would all join forces to erect a structure that will be a permanent feature and guarantee future fixtures on the first class calendar and possibly the odd international ODI/T20.  We deserve as much.  The old grandstand would probably, in today's environment, be assessed as an earthquake risk and due demolition giving cause to the calls for a better stand, player facilities, a HQ for Manawatu Cricket, and capable of supplying OB Units for top televised games.

So Palmy, what say you?  Do you want to use your voice and support this claim for better representation of our summer game?  I for one want to see games played here of the highest calibre possible and I'm sure you do too,  Why do we continue to let smaller cities steal a march on our right (population based) to host top cricket.  We have the ground, let's build a venue. (and a part of the revamp is an Electronic Scoreoard.)

No comments:

Post a Comment