Cricket: Molyneux Park reinstated

Ross Dykes
Ross Dykes
Molyneux Park's warrant of fitness has been reinstated by New Zealand Cricket.

The venue's warrant was suspended in November last year when former groundsman Wayne Walker resigned.

His replacement, Andrew Douglas, was employed the same week NZC withdrew the warrant but the national body said the appointment had come too late and it wanted time to work with Douglas to assess his ability.

Otago's twenty/20 game against Northern Districts last December was transferred from Molyneux Park to the University Oval in Dunedin.

That decision split the cricket community. Otago Country chairman and long-serving Otago scorer Malcolm Jones was angered by the decision, while former New Zealand and Otago left-armer Shayne O'Connor, who was then on the board of Otago Country, backed the call to transfer the match.

Otago Cricket Association chief executive Ross Dykes yesterday confirmed the suspension had been lifted when contacted by the Otago Daily Times.

"There is no chance of us playing any first-class cricket there this year because that has all been scheduled and done," Dykes said.

"But it has had its warrant re-established and we have had a meeting between New Zealand Cricket, Otago Cricket, the district council and Otago Country cricket, just identifying the areas that need spruced up a bit.

"So everybody is working towards that and getting the ground to a point where we can consider it as a venue for next year."

Jones welcomed the news.

"It is great news for Molyneux Park and the community that the warrant has been returned," he said.

"There is still some hard work to be done before we can host first-class cricket back at the venue and we will do all we can to help the council and the council contractors meet the requirements.

"I would like to see cricket return next year and that is our aim. We have two Hawke Cup elimination games this season ... how the pitch plays will be monitored fairly closely by all concerned."

The ground last hosted a domestic match in January 2011.