Basin Reserve getting a facelift

UNDER CONSTRUCTION: The Basin Reserve, seen from the Mt Victoria lookout.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION: The Basin Reserve, seen from the Mt Victoria lookout.

All that's missing is a cactus and some tumbleweed, but Cricket Wellington remain adamant the Basin Reserve will be back in action by Boxing Day, as scheduled.

As Dominion Post photographer Ross Giblin’s shot from Mt Victoria shows, the Basin outfield resembles a desert, dotted with the green oasis of the wicket and practice blocks.

CW chief executive Peter Clinton said after some initial rain delays, the extensive drainage work was completed on schedule this week. Grass would now be sown from scratch and would take 12 weeks to "strike", or ensure the grass roots are strong enough to survive cricket spikes, then rugby sprigs next winter.

The wicket block would undergo its normal "spring renovation".

"Everything is on track for the 26th. We will be on there on Boxing Day," Clinton said of the Firebirds' Twenty20 match against Central Districts.

The drainage work involved tearing up the turf and applying 55 truckloads, or 1000 tonnes, of sand. The cost hasn’t been made public.

With a big test against England looming in March, the work was requested by New Zealand Cricket after frustrating rain delays in recent years, particularly under the shadow of the RA Vance Stand.

"It will bring the drainage rates up to that of modern stadia; the same as Westpac Stadium," Clinton said.

Work is also well advanced on enlarging the two dressing rooms under the Vance Stand, which will be completed well before Boxing Day.

It’s the first significant makeover for the facilities since the stand was built 31 years ago.

"It's nothing particularly grand but we've tried to find more space. Teams and support staff are larger now and they have more gear," Mr Clinton said.

During the Basin's hibernation, Karori Park will host two Plunket Shield four-day matches, against Central starting on December 10, and Northern Districts a week later.

NZC initially listed the Basin as hosting the latter match in last week’s season schedule, then corrected it to Karori Park.

The stadium also hosts two Firebirds T20 games, both televised Friday nighters against Canterbury on November 9 and Auckland on November 16.

Contact Mark Geenty
Deputy sports editor

The Dominion Post