It was "panic stations" for a few weeks to see if the contractors could legally work at the ground, but Cricket Wanganui is confident they will have excellent pitches for the 2020-21 season after a complete renovation at Victoria Park.

The work was done recently on the four fields at Victoria, as Whanganui Collegiate groundsman Anthony Belk offered assistance once the go-ahead was received for staff to go onto the grounds after the Level 4 restrictions were lifted in the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The panic stations hit after lockdown," said acting Cricket Wanganui director Jordan Healy.

"We had to get it in by the end of this month with the weather. We got lucky, rushed it through.


"We're happy with how they've come up."

Last year, and in fact for many seasons before that, Victoria Park was not ready for the beginning of the Premier 1 and 2 club cricket competitions, with the matches for the first few weeks being held at Collegiate and on the artificial pitches on the Springvale fields.

"Hopefully with more prep time, they'll be better wickets to play on that will last the whole season," said Healy.

"It had to be done, we've chopped them all down to size."

Of the four blocks, they have been cut down from nine wickets to six, which allows for bigger boundaries, especially for the Premier 2 games which are usually played on the No 3 and No 4 fields.

The work, which cost in the five figures, started with two weeks of prep as the fields were sprayed and mowed, with a lot of weeds needing to be cleared after the Level 4 lockdown.

Sports Turf Renovators from Palmerston North spent a full day on site, while assisting the contractors was Trevor Jackson of Turfgrass Specialists Ltd, most known for his work at the iconic Basin Reserve in Wellington.

Mexted Performance Sports Turf from Wellington provided the clay.


In addition, new sprinklers have been installed for the No 1 and No 2 fields by Total Irrigation.

"It should have us putting out better quality wickets," said Healy.

On March 18, New Zealand Cricket, in conjunction with its regional associations, agreed to cancel all community cricket for the rest of the summer, following medical advice in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, but before Government restrictions came in around no sports being played.

The only remaining local senior club match which this affected was the scheduled March 21 Premier 2 Pro 40 final at Victoria Park between Wanganui Renegades and David Jones Motors United 2nd XI.

Renegades were awarded the title by virtue of being the top qualifier for the playoffs.