Day-only World Cup games lined up at Hagley

It is no coincidence that the three World Cup cricket matches scheduled for Hagley Oval in 2015 are all day games.

Partly in an attempt to mitigate any issues about controversial floodlights at the ground, New Zealand's Cricket World Cup chief executive Therese Walsh yesterday confirmed that day matches in Christchurch was a situation with no downside. The proposed $8m retractable floodlights were a major stumbling block raised by protesters concerned about the ground's commercialisation by Canterbury cricket.

Environment Court judge Jane Borthwick will rule later this month on whether development of the ground can be undertaken. Walsh said yesterday that day games in Christchurch were beneficial on two counts with organisers keen to run double-header matches back-to-back to dovetail with day-night fixtures in Australia.

"It was helpful to have some day games in New Zealand and with the whole situation at Hagley - with lights being an issue - then this helped smooth the way."

The two other South Island venues for the tournament, Dunedin and Nelson, don't have floodlights and will host day games only.

"We don't see that as a problem especially with the daylight in the South Island at that time of the year," Walsh said.

The event will be held in February/March.

"It also means youngsters can play their games on the sidelines."

One of the key planks for bidders was the ability to host day-night fixtures, especially with the large audience in the Indian sub-continent which is four hours behind New Zealand time.

Canterbury cricket's chief executive Lee Germon said in their submission to the organising committee their priority was funding a new $8m pavilion with lights the next step.

"Our main thrust was to get the ground up to standard and the pavilion so the appropriate facilities would be there for the matches."

Germon said he had no discussions on the issue with CWC organisers on the matter but thought their decision with the allocation "played it safe."

Germon said Canterbury Cricket would still seek to have lights installed at Hagley Oval even if they were not ready by 2015 to have the ground able to host major day-night international fixtures in the future.

He said talks about fund-raising for the overall development had been under way well before the allocation of the three games to the city earlier this week.

The council has already earmarked about $1 million for a raised embankment at the ground.

The Press