World Cup games on way to Bay

By Roger Moroney

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Napier has been selected to host three ICC World Cup Cricket pool games in March 2015, with McLean Park lined up to host matches involving Pakistan, West Indies and the Black Caps.

The matches will put Napier, and Hawke's Bay, on the international sporting map the way it did during the Rugby World Cup of 2011 when McLean Park hosted matches involving France, Canada and Japan.

"Excellent news, just excellent," was Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott's response after yesterday's announcement.

"We thought long and hard about this," she said of the decision to put the city's name forward as a one of the seven New Zealand host cities after initial discussions began last year.

The cost factor had to be taken into overall consideration, but at the end of the day Mrs Arnott said the spin-offs for Napier and the region were too good to pass up.

"There is going to be a lot of good coming out of this and when you see what we have got, we could not have done better."

There was likely to be an added bonus in that one of the qualifier teams could be based in Napier.

"We will give them a good time," Mrs Arnott said.

After the announcement, Napier MP Chris Tremain said: "This is great news for Napier and the Bay."

The draw effectively put Napier in the same ballpark as Australian centres such as Brisbane, Canberra and Perth, which also got three matches each.

"Napier is a superb venue to host the pool games," he said.

"Our Mediterranean climate and reputation amongst the international cricketing community for outstanding pitches makes Napier an ideal choice."

Tukituki MP Craig Foss was also glowing about the news.

"This will provide a huge boost for our local tourism sector and wider economy and it builds on our successful hosting of the Rugby World Cup games," he said.

"The promotion for Napier and our wider province, especially to Asian communities, may be even larger than the profile we received during the RWC. We need to capitalise upon this as a region and use the opportunity to promote ourselves as one of the top regions in Australasia."

The local organising committee of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, which will be jointly hosted by New Zealand and Australia from February 14 to March 29, said there would be 14 host cities and a 49-match schedule that would see every team play in New Zealand.

The announcements were made at simultaneous launch events in Wellington and Melbourne.

Christchurch will host the opening match, New Zealand against Sri Lanka, while there will be a quarter-final at Wellington Regional Stadium and a semifinal at Auckland's Eden Park.

The final will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, as it was when the two countries last co-hosted the tournament in 1992.


Therese Walsh, New Zealand head for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 local organising committee, said it was a "once in a generation opportunity" to see the best players and best teams on Kiwi grounds: "We have worked hard to make the tournament as accessible as possible by spreading the games across the two host countries."

Host cities are Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Napier, Nelson, Wellington Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

 

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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