Mon, Apr 8, 2024 10:41 AM

Upgrade begins on main cricket block


Peter Jones

The 2023-24 season may have ended, but there is still plenty going on at Marlborough cricket headquarters.

Soon after the final ball of the current season was bowled, attention turned to the renewal of the main cricket block at Horton Park, with work starting on Tuesday.

An upgrade of the number one wicket block has been in the pipeline for the past three years, says Marlborough Cricket general manager Ed Gilhooly.

“It is about 20 years since it was last renewed so it is due … the general feeling is that, although it has still been good [to play on] over the last few years it has lost a bit of pace and bounce.

“So, rather than doing the usual end-of-season renovations we are having a full renewal, which involves digging the old clay out and, in this case, putting a roading base in. Then they put about 110mls of Ward clay on top to finish it off.”

The work is being carried out by Mexted Sports Turf, a Wellington firm who have recently spent time upgrading international venue Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

The excavated soil is being put to good use, with two new spectator banks being created on the south side of Horton Park, while the contractors are also upgrading the current irrigation system.

“We are taking the opportunity to modernise [the number one wicket block], trying to future-proof it, making it easier to maintain,” said Ed.

The work is a collaboration between the Marlborough Cricket Association and Marlborough District Council, the park’s owners.

The MCA hope to have the main block ready for the opening week of the new season, next October, but that will be weather and growth dependent.

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