BOP Cricket Trust takes the initiative

By John Cousins

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The Bay of Plenty Cricket Trust has started building a new cricket block at Blake Park in order to stay in contention for hosting the Cricket World Cup qualifying tournament, even though it has yet to secure a $35,000 grant from the council.

Trust general manager Kelvin Jones explained the predicament the trust had found itself in by the requirement to have the second wicket if it was to succeed in its bid to host the North Island hub of the international tournament.

He said the opportunity to host the qualifying tournament was too good an opportunity to let slip.

The month-long tournament in January will feature 10 non-test playing nations vying for the last two places in the 2015 World Cup to be played in Australia and New Zealand. If Tauranga's bid was successful, it would host five of the 10 teams.

Mr Jones spoke of the trust's $35,000 funding application at yesterday's hearing of submissions on the council's 2013-14 annual plan.

"We realise there is a risk in starting [construction] now," he said.

He explained the trust was in a comfortable short-term cashflow position while the new Bay Oval cricket pavilion was being built. The $35,000 was being funded from that money.

Councillors realising the pressure that the trust was putting them under to agree to the grant asked about the possibility of finding another source of funding.

Mr Jones said they were constantly putting in funding requests to cover the shortfall to run the Bay Oval.

The block has to be finished by winter in order to be ready for the qualifying tournament. The council will decide on the application next month.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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