July 18, 2001

Eden Park - the generous cricketing Big Brother

Eden Park will have a new cricket scoreboard for the England tour matches next summer -- and North Harbour may also have a second-hand bargain.

This week the big main scoreboard at Eden Park will be transported across the Harbour Bridge to the North Harbour Stadium, to make way for a new public information system on Eden Park No 1.

The Eden Park Trust Board has given the old scoreboard to North Harbour free of charge, but North Harbour will need $40-50,000 for transport and installation costs.

At Eden Park, a new 70 square metre screen will be perched on top of the West Stand (basically where the action-replay screen has been sited) with a smaller new screen being pitched at the eastern end of the ground, about the same site as the old board.

This may or may not be the end of the long and very expensive process to get the Eden Park cricket scoreboard working to full satisfaction.

The old framework scoreboard disappeared when the western terraces were built and a new, large and manual board was installed at the northern end of the original west stand.

In 1985 this was changed to a new computerised scoreboard, largely financed by the then Auckland Savings Bank and the rumoured cost was $600,000. But then the problems started. The lettering on the new board was not totally visible, or satisfactory.

The face of the scoreboard was redesigned. Then there were problems with shadows, and the face of the board was re-aligned.

With the building of the new West Stand in 1992, the board was shifted to the western end of the ground.

This was regarded as a better site, for the sunlight was more direct. But this also caused problems for when the sun was shining brightly it highlighted the trim around the numbers, which tended to make them hard to decipher.

Warwick Lovell, the Eden Park manager, said the suppliers and contractors had been very co-operative over the years in making improvements to the existing scoreboard.

The new scoreboard was not likely to present the same problems, as it will be a high-quality replay screen designed by Clipsal, and will give a very clear picture.

However, Eden Park spectators will not be supplied with all the information that the old traditional scoreboard offered, and which is still available at WestpacTrust Park in Hamilton and the Basin Reserve in Wellington.

Wayne Scurrah, the North Harbour Stadium chief executive, praised Eden Park for its generosity in giving them the second-hand board.

"There will still be a lot of work to do in having the new scoreboard installed," said Scurrah, "and I am not too sure whether we should be saying too much until all the details have been worked out."

These include the moving of the scoreboard to North Harbour, the building of new footings for the site at the Massey University end of the stadium, and having all the engineering and electrical work completed satisfactorily.

If these details and resource consents are all completed without fuss and delay Scurrah hoped the new board could be working in a month or two.

Until now North Harbour have had only a very basic rugby scoreboard at the Massey end of the ground.

"The old scoreboard was definitely not up to scratch," said Scurrah.

"The new one will be a big improvement. When the North Harbour rugby team scores a century we will have three numbers available to show that."