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Friday, July 23, 2004

Dunedin short-changed! 

New Zealand cricket has just announced its schedule for this summer.

The first thing to note is that it has axed the Boxing Day Test in Wellington, effectively killing what might have become a great tradition, akin to that at the MCG. The obvious motivation for this is that it can instead play a ODI at Eden Park on Boxing Day, charging ODI prices to 40,000 people. Martin Sneddon doesn't say that though, instead proclaiming that moving tests to mid-late summer will offer better chances of good weather:

Snedden said the new format would allow test cricket to be played at a time when weather was likely to be more settled.
He might have a point - but let's be honest here Martin, your real motivation is money. And I find it hard to believe you'd prefer to have a ODI washed out (even with a reserve day) than a test.

The second thing to note is that Dunedin will see not a single day of international cricket this season!

Auckland (popn 1,200,000) gets 11 days
Christchurch (popn 358,000) gets 7 days
Wellington (popn 363,000) gets 12 days
Hamilton (popn 179,000) gets 7 days
New Plymouth (popn 49,500) gets 1 day
Napier (popn 56,700) gets 2 days
Queenstown (popn 20,000) gets 1 day

Dunedin (popn 113,600) gets nothing!

*updated popn counts (2003 estimates) courtesy of StatsNZ and BB.

Here's what Martin has to say:

Unfortunately Carisbrook will miss out on an ODI match against Australia.

"The venue authority had been offered a mid-week match but would not agree to a condition that rugby not be played on the ground for a period of five days before the ODI match.

"The lack of a drop-in pitch at the ground presents too much risk to NZC should rugby be played at the ground before an ODI.

"This issue highlights the ongoing difficulty of utilising dual purpose grounds once the Super 12 rugby series begins."
Well, OK, I can understand that, but why then does NZ's fifth largest urban area not host a single game during the entire international season? I don't think Super 12 is played in December or January (yet), so how about a one-dayer against Sri Lanka (at least!). You've got a lot to answer for here, Martin, and I'm not just talking about the time you conceded over 100 runs in a ODI.

I guess I could drive to Queenstown and/or Christchurch to see some of the games, but I don't know if I want to drive that far, and spend so much of my own time, just to line the pockets of NZ Cricket.

Yours, Pissed Off in Dunedin.

The only problem is that Dunedin is empty from Xmas until mid-Jan.

Most cricket-loving Dunedinites are going to be far closer to Queenstown than Dunedin during that period.

The problem lies with selfishness and stubborness of the ORFU. Sneedon is right to want the ODI after the students arrive; but Carisbrook is being run by a one sport shop.
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