Surface upgrade for Events Centre

Queenstown Events Centre, Frankton. Photo: ODT.
Queenstown Events Centre, Frankton. Photo: ODT.
A $640,000 upgrade for Queenstown’s main sports ground starts next week, raising hopes of a return for international cricket.

The picturesque Queenstown Events Centre venue hosted nine one-day internationals from 2003 to 2014.

Most famously, it was where Black Caps batsman Corey Anderson smashed his world-record century off 36 balls in 2014 — a mark bettered the following year by South African AB de Villiers’ 31-ball hundred. Queenstown fell out of favour with New Zealand Cricket because of surface and drainage problems.

The ground’s problems have persisted.

A waterlogged outfield killed the chance of a result in an Otago Volts Plunket Shield game in February 2015.

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult said the refurbishment decision was made before he took office, but the current council supported it.

He said the prospect of Queenstown once again hosting international cricket was "very exciting".

The Queenstown Lakes District Council approved the $640,000 upgrade, which will be undertaken by local firm TIC Projects.

The ground will have 90mm of sand over an extensive drainage system, developed specifically for sports fields.

Parks and reserves planning manager Stephen Quin said the playing surface has not been upgraded since the Events Centre was built in 1997.

"In its current state, water sits on top of the surface, making it slippery and muddy, and much more prone to damage."

Queenstown’s upgrade seems to have come at a good time, less than a fortnight after a one-day washout at Napier’s McLean Park.

A rain-sodden outfield meant the Chappell-Hadlee series game between New Zealand and Australia was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

It was the Napier venue’s third one-day washout in the past four years.

Its playing surface and drainage no longer meet NZC’s standards and it will not be allocated games until it makes improvements.

The Queenstown upgrade should be completed by April.

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