If you build it …

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The North Otago Cricket Association hopes to have a pavilion in place for the start of the 2017-18 cricket season so it can get back on the first-class radar.
At a meeting of the Waitaki District Council’s community services committee on Wednesday, the committee recommended leasing part of Centennial Park to the association so the pavilion could be built.
It will stand beside the Excelsior sports club building and in front of the Excelsior petanque piste.
The two-storey structure will provide space for scorers and officials, and have all the facilities needed to host top-tier provincial cricket.
It will have room for equipment, including wicket block covers and two sightscreens, which are 5.5m high and mounted on wheels, to be stored in winter.
During the summer, the downstairs space will provide shelter for players watching matches, while the upstairs section will be fitted with workstations and used year-round as office and resource space for the coaches, and for training sessions and meetings.
North Otago Cricket Association chairman Peter Cameron said for the last 15 years the association had operated out of umpire Derek Walker’s garage, which had not been ideal.
During games, the space will be reconfigured for scorers and officials.
The pavilion will be used in conjunction with the Excelsior building, which will provide improved changing rooms and ablutions, as well as social space for tea and lunch breaks, and post-match presentations.
Options to incorporate the pavilion into the Excelsior building were investigated. However, the location of the sightscreens obscured the view of the cricket ground.
Since 2013, significant work has been done to move cricket from Whitestone Contracting Stadium to Whitestone Contracting Oval, Centennial Park’s No 2 and No 3 grounds.
The work has included establishing a wicket block, levelling fields and installing in-ground irrigation. The pavilion is the next stage of that development.
Mr Cameron said the pavilion would cost about $250,000, and the bulk of that would raised by the association.
He said the aim was to have major provincial cricket return to Oamaru.
The last major fixture to be played in town was in 2011, when the Otago Volts played the Northern Knights in a twenty20 match at Whitestone Contracting Stadium.
“Otago cricket, to their credit, we met with them . . . and they’re keen to do pre-season training and that sort of thing, because of course the weather is better here than in Dunedin. “Once we get those guys here, they will be able to do school visits and other things.
“We want to get to a situation initially where we have Otago teams doing the bulk of their pre-season training here . . . if we can do that initially and get the confidence around the infrastructure, then there’s more chance of getting one-dayers, T20s and perhaps first-class games.”He hoped embankments would surround the ground in the future.
The committee also recommended council give the association $45,358 from the council’s Resource Management Act funds for the association to buy sightscreens ($20,000), while the remainder will go towards the pavilion.
Mr Cameron said the association would now apply to the Lotteries Grants Board and other organisations for grants.