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First class cricket in community backyard

Mar 20th, 2012 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

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CRICKET fans in Karori can watch top quality games from now on after the ground’s upgrading to become the sixth in Wellington to be given first-class status.

The Central District Stags and the Wellington Firebirds squared off on the improved pitch in the interprovincial Plunket Shield over the past four days.

The first day brought out many Karori locals who wouldn’t usually go.

Many spectators brought their own chairs and were able to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere.

Among them was Chris Parker, who came prepared with a couch, securing a view on the northern boundary. “Over the moon it’s here,” he said.

Phil Hunter, of the Karori Junior Cricket Club, was working hard on the barbeque. “It’s a good opportunity for the kids to watch such a high level game in our backyard,” he said.

One keen junior cricketer even had the chance to get involved in the game, throwing the ball back to a fielder after Wellington batsman Grant Elliott hit it to the boundary.

It is also a new experience for the players, playing on the outskirts of suburbia.

“Obviously I’d like to play at the Basin, but I’m happy to be here,” said Dean Robinson, opening batsman for the Central Stags.

The team’s opening bowler, Kyle Jarvis was is fresh off touring with the Zimbabwean team. “It’s a little bit different, but hopefully it will be good,” he said

The groundkeeping staff spent the past three weeks levelling the pitch. They used  heavily weighted rollers for a total of 16 hours to bring cricket to the community in time for the opening match.

Trevor Jackson, head curator for Wellington cricket says he thinks it’s brilliant.   “It’s been a long time coming and now we’ve got another first class venue,” he said.

The pitch has been carefully manicured for three weeks by Karori Park groundsman Brayden Rawlinson and Mr Jackson.

“It always looks good before the game, but it won’t look as perfect once the players scratch in their guard marks,” said Mr Jackson.

Opening day proved successful for Karori, showcasing the Park and grounds.

The Wellington Firebirds were on good form getting 437 runs in their first innings. If the Central Stags win it gives them a good chance to proceed to the final.

The game is scheduled to conclude tomorrow.

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