Headon Stadium upgrades interfere with Matamata cricket season

Around 80-90 young cricketers will be left without changing facilities on Fridays due to the closure of Headon Stadium.
ELI HILL/STUFF
Around 80-90 young cricketers will be left without changing facilities on Fridays due to the closure of Headon Stadium.

Plans to upgrade Headon Stadium over the coming summer is likely to disrupt hundreds of people playing sport at the neighbouring Pohlen Park in Matamata.

The Matamata-Piako District Council has earmarked $1.5 million for the upgrades, which will mean the town's largest sports facilities will be closed from the start of 2019.

Matamata and Districts Cricket Association president Cameron Bishop said the closure could have a negative affect on membership.

The women's restroom is used as both a toilet and the opposition team's changing sheds.
ELI HILL/STUFF
The women's restroom is used as both a toilet and the opposition team's changing sheds.

"One of our big focuses is the wives and girlfriends of the players, quite a lot of them have little kids, where can we cater for them a Pohlen park at the moment?

"So the pressure comes onto dad, we can't come down there, we'd rather you didn't play."

Bishop said cricket was one of the park's biggest users.

There were cricket youth games on Friday evenings, which drew around 140-150 people. There were junior cricket teams and two senior Hinuera cricket teams playing on Saturdays at Pohlen Park and all needed to access changing rooms and toilets at Headon.

There was also a growing number of women players, with a potential to host women's games this summer, but Bishop said it all depended on the facilities provided.

"Wives and girlfriends come down and they're expected to go to the toilet in the away-team's changing rooms.

"There seems to be a distinct lack of communication coming from the council to us, as one of the biggest users, if not the biggest user, because we do not agree with their plan to spend a whole heap of money on Headon Stadium."

He said part of the money used on Headon could be better spent developing the new sports facility the council had committed to.

"It's not a well thought out plan to spend a lot of money that only services the people who are indoor stadium users, yet there's the likes of cricket being an outdoor sport.

"If the community wants to watch cricket, there's nowhere for them to sit other than under one tree," he said.

One of the Matamata Ward councillors for the Matamata-Piako District Council, Adrienne Wilcox, said disruption to some users was unavoidable.

"At the end of the day, we really want create assets for our community, we're not going to please everybody.

"It's a short term pain for a long term gain I would hope."

The council was still working out the nuts and bolts of replacement facilities, but Wilcox said there was an expectation that portaloos would be provided.

She said Headon was still a structurally sound building, with a decent sprung floor and most of the infrastructure in place, but needed bringing up to modern specs.

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