Nelson's world cup plans in motion

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 13:00 29/01/2014

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The countdown to Nelson's next large international sports event will start from next month.

The city will join other Cricket World Cup host cities in unveiling a countdown clock on February 13, beginning the 12-month countdown to the start of the 2015 tournament.

Australia and New Zealand will host 49 matches over 44 days in February and March 2015. The tournament was last played in both countries in 1992.

Saxton Oval will host three games - West Indies v Ireland on Monday, February 16, 2015; Zimbabwe v Qualifier 4 on Thursday, February 19, 2015; and Bangladesh v Qualifier 3 on Thursday, March 5, 2015.

A 2.5-metre cricket ball clock, to be unveiled at 1903 Square at the top of Trafalgar St, will be branded to reflect Nelson city and the world cup.

The Nelson City Council says the clock will be moveable, and will not be at the site permanently.

Confidence in the region's ability to host the event was boosted by the success of the one-day international between the West Indies and the Black Caps at Saxton Oval last month.

The small-town charm of Nelson and the intimate ground are said to have won over the West Indies cricket team.

Councillor Pete Rainey, who chairs the council's community services committee, said in his chair's report at yesterday's council meeting that until then, he had been nervous.

"It was a big thing to take on, but Saxton Field has proved itself as a first-class facility," Mr Rainey said.

World cup project sponsor and the council's group manager of support services, Hugh Kettlewell, said it was a good event but there were some lessons to be taken from it.

Saxton Oval received International Cricket Council approval on December 10 last year to host international games.

A report to councillors yesterday said there were questions about the size of the boundary, and the project team was looking at whether this had to be addressed before the world cup.

The contract for the event includes exclusive use of the entire venue from 21 days before the first match and for 10 days after the last match.

The area includes the athletics track and its infield, and the pavilion.

Councillor Eric Davy sought assurances that the track would not be damaged. Mr Kettlewell said the project team was "well aware" of the need to protect the track, and it would have a protective cover placed on it.

In answer to a question from councillor Mike Ward about whether athletics administrators were happy about not being able to use the track over that period, Mr Kettlewell said the team was working through the matter.

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"We have a contractual requirement with CWC to give them that exclusive area, so we have to do that."

Each host city will adopt a themed approach to promoting their region. The council will support a "summer at the beach" theme designed to reflect Nelson's "classic summer holiday".

Host city manager Ian Littleworth said a big part of the theme would be based on "summer days playing cricket on the beach or in the backyard".

He said it was possible that beach cricket tournaments would be played during world cup events here.

The report to councillors also said that while the project was within its allocated budget at this time, there were concerns that staff hours allocated to the world cup would not be enough.

Current estimates were 5100 hours, compared with a 4000-hour plan with 1000 extra hours as a contingency.

Detailed planning for the event starts next month, when council staff will begin meeting monthly with the local organising committee, the Nelson Cricket Association, local suppliers and contractors and volunteers.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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