Greens eyed for basketball

By Doug Laing

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A Napier bowling club's greens could be used as basketball courts this year following the sale of the club's buildings to Basketball Hawke's Bay.

BHB has agreed to buy the facilities of the Wairere Bowling Club on leased council land at the Nuffield Ave end of Whitmore Park.

The century-old club is merging with the Port Ahuriri Bowling Club, where the new operation will be based from the end of this season.

The Napier City Council's City Services Committee on Wednesday supported the transfer within the existing lease and other formalities expected to end with a long-term lease for basketball.

BHB general manager Paul Trass said the sport, which had more than 700 teams and about 3500 players from Napier to Waipukurau last year, needs more space and Whitmore Park would be an addition to the many venues already being used.

At the moment, basketball games are played, almost daily, at venues such as McLean Park's Rodney Green Centennial Events centre (the Centennial Hall) and the Hastings Sports Stadium, but a shortage of space has restricted some operations, including after-school programmes.

While Whitmore Park could become a headquarters for the sport, there are no plans to use it for national league games played by the Hawks at the Pettigrew Green Arena in Taradale.

And while laying asphalt courts where the bowling greens are is being considered, it's possible some games will be played on the greens this year, he said.

"We're yet to talk to the green-keeper about the suitability of that but we could experiment."

Also being investigated are "roll-out" courts, which could also be used at other parks - they are laid down before games and taken away afterwards.

The council is congratulating BHB for its strategic thinking and, with BHB, is congratulating the bowling club for its generosity and interest in helping basketball develop as a sport and "for the kids".

"We look on them as a sponsor," Mr Trass said.

Council committee chairwoman Kathie Furlong said the move also appeared to have saved bowling, with both clubs struggling because of dwindling numbers.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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