Karori. New Zealand’s biggest suburb. The Valley of the Birds.
Products include Marc Ellis, Tim Brown, Andrew Mulligan and probably many more.
Home to Karori cricket club, and Karori-Waterside football club; despite being about as far from the water as you can get in Wellington. And on Saturday mornings, all year round, host to six concurrent games of the two codes from 8:30 on.
And now, so the Basin can get ready for the third test v South Africa, it gets to host a Plunket Shield game against Central Districts.
It has been a bit of a mission getting it up and running. A seven million dollar upgrade from five years ago saw the stream that previously ran through the ground diverted and sent underground. The pitch on the Number 1 ground got realigned, a broadcasting bow was built, the pavilion got turned into a cafe and things were ready to go.
But less than a year ago, after one of those storms that lit up 2011, it looked like this.
So another $370k was thrown at it, and now it’s got to the required standard.
The drain relaying and persistence of the ground staff have turned that around, and it’s now looking like a First Class venue.
On Friday, two sets of double containers arrived and were placed at either end to act as the basis for sightscreens. And out of these, like mobile cricket’s version of a Tardis, rolled out all you need to host a cricket match.
Marque followed by some signage hoardings, followed by some practice nets for the adjacent pitches, boundary ropes, a tent or two, and the white cloths (a little on the bright side) needed to finish off the sightscreens.
And bingo; you have yourselves a first class cricket venue.
Well once, they bring round the scoreboard that’s still in the carpark it will be.
Because the Wellington Association is not as spread out as most others, there has not been the need to move away from the Basin. In fact, the last time Wellington Cricket introduced new 1st class venue, over 30 years ago, this is what happened.
Check out Coney’s figures in 1st innings. Fair to say that was a bit of a pudding.
Not that the batsmen will have a lot of fun here either though. It’s a typically Karori green look to the pitch.
Should be a good match. Luke Ronchi makes the switch from the WACA to Karori to make his Wellington debut. Andy McKay will be making his push for higher honours for the rest of the year; 2012 sensation Josh Brodie will be opening the innings at a time where there’s a bit of focus there. And on that; don’t forget Jamie How. Franklin is playing, And so is New Zealand professional net bowler Tarun Nethula, although on a pitch that is unlikely to do him many favours.
So get along on Sunday and give this venue a good baptism. Sausage Sizzle too