The Far North sporting community acquired a brand new asset on Monday, when a handful of cricket enthusiasts laid a concrete cricket pitch at Ahipara, ostensibly for the clash between the West Coast versus the Ray White East Coast Cricket Association, which will be played tomorrow, although it will no doubt be put to good use by players of all ages for many years to come.
The idea of laying a pitch was born at a Kaitaia watering hole, during a discussion about where the next game for the Paddy O'Leary Memorial Cup would be played. Ahipara was mooted as the ideal location, followed by how the pitch was to be prepared. Eventually it was decided that the only course of action that would suffice would be to lay a brand new concrete one.
A proposal was put to the Te Rarawa Rugby and Ahipara soccer clubs to install a pitch wicket on the domain, and a group including Leighton Matthews, James Tattersall, Chris Bell, Laurence Erstich, Andrew and Ginty Morrogh, under the expert eye of Jake Proctor, donated their time and materials to get the job done. Pukepoto Quarries generously supplied the concrete.
It was all in a day's work according to Chris Bell, who said "It was our turn to host, and with our strong community spirit we just banded together to get the job done."
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Kaitaia/Awanui farmer Laurence Erstich, asked why he would take a day off from grubbing thistles to help out, said the pitch would enhance the Ahipara sports complex for many years.
"It's a community thing. It was a stupendous effort by those involved," he said.
Tomorrow's game starts at around 3pm, with the East Coast not so quietly confident of winning.