NZC lucky to escape paying out on ticket refund

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 05:00 18/03/2013
Cricket fans
Photosport
KEEN PUNTERS: Fans wait for the rain to clear and play to resume in the England-New Zealand test at the Basin Reserve yesterday.

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It was a good news, bad news weekend for New Zealand Cricket.

They narrowly avoided a payout of potentially thousands of dollars to rain-soaked Sunday ticket holders at the Basin Reserve, on a day when the future of their major sponsorship arrangement was thrown into doubt.

When rain forced a four-hour delay on day four of the second test against England, day ticket holders were entitled to half their money back if there was no further play.

Under NZC's ticket refund policy, stated on its website, fans receive a 50 per cent refund on day tickets if between 10 and 29 overs are delivered. Before the rain arrived at the lunch break, exactly 29 overs had been bowled.

Little wonder NZC officials paced about anxiously as the sun peeked through the clouds then disappeared again, as umpires Asad Rauf and Rod Tucker inspected the conditions. So when Monty Panesar delivered the 30th over at 5.10pm, NZC were free of liability and punters paid full price for, eventually, 35 overs of cricket.

NZC confirmed the policy but wouldn't say how many day tickets were sold yesterday, or how much it was liable for if only 29 overs were bowled.

NZC's conditions also state if fewer than 10 overs are delivered in a day, ticket holders receive a full refund. For five-day match pass holders, refunds only occur on a pro rata basis if the test finishes inside three days, or no play is possible on the opening three days.

It meant a solid weekend for NZC who shut the gates at 9.30am on Saturday and put up the "house full" sign, with all 8000 tickets sold.

There was some consolation after former NZC chairman John Anderson revealedthat ANZ, the bank he was formerly chief executive of, was "probably dropping out of the cricket sponsorship" after next summer's home series against West Indies and India.

It would end a 12-year association with NZC, who responded last night: "New Zealand Cricket has a contract with ANZ as our principal sponsor and this is not up for renewal until after the 2013-14 season. We appreciate the uncompromising support we have received from the bank for over a decade."

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