Everything set for umpires to say ‘play’ at University of Otago Oval

The University Oval looked like a post apocalyptic scene in August (below). But four months on,...
The University Oval looked like a post apocalyptic scene in August (below). But four months on, it is utterly heavenly. And beneath the surface is a much improved drainage system. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
It is still a battlefield of sorts.

But the University of Otago Oval is looking a lot less like Passchendaele and a lot more like Bradman’s wonderland.

The boutique venue has undergone a fabulous transformation. The drainage and playing surface has had a $130,000 upgrade during the off-season.

Mud and puddles stood in stark contrast with the wicket block when the Otago Daily Times photographed the ground in August. But yesterday its emerald hues jostled for attention with the candyfloss clouds which passed slowly above.

On Sunday, Otago will host Northern Districts in a one-dayer at the venue.

It is the Volts’ first game in Dunedin this season and head groundsman Jayden Tohill has made the wait worthwhile.

Photo: Peter McIntosh
Photo: Peter McIntosh
The outfield is in pristine shape and the wicket should have plenty of runs in it.

"It would have been a sandpit the last time you saw it," Tohill said.

"But I’m pretty happy with it now. Can’t complain."

Tohill thinks the wicket will play much the same as it has done in the last few seasons.

In that case, it should be a belter. Otago scored 407 for four and 354 for six in the two completed games there last season.

That last sentence should have come with a warning for any unsuspecting bowlers who happen to be reading.

"We’ve been reasonably consistent in what we’ve been putting out for the last few years. It looks like it is going to be pretty similar."

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