<
>

Fourth ODI moved from Napier to Hamilton

The drainage system at McLean Park is set to undergo a complete overhaul Getty Images

The fourth ODI between New Zealand and South Africa, which was originally scheduled at McLean Park in Napier on March 1, has been moved to Seddon Park in Hamilton.

According to an NZC release, the inquiry launched by the Napier City Council into the abandonment of the second Chappell-Hadlee ODI at McLean Park on February 2 "highlighted a need for urgent remedial work on the venue's turf, drainage, and irrigation system."

Both NZC and the city council agreed it was "in the best interests of McLean Park's cricketing future" to move the ODI against South Africa and avoid the "unacceptable risk" of another drainage failure. Fans who purchased tickets to watch the game at McLean Park will receive a full refund.

"There have been shortcomings identified in McLean Park's drainage and irrigation system which need to be remedied before we can be confident of avoiding what happened in the Chappell-Hadlee fixture," Anthony Crummy, the NZC chief operating officer, said. "The investigation concludes that drought conditions in the Hawke's Bay necessitated significant levels of watering in the days leading up to the match which, combined with a limited drainage infrastructure and rain on match-day, resulted in a worst-case scenario.

"It's true, several measures could be employed to help mitigate this risk ahead of the South Africa match but, even then, any period of significant or extended rain in the lead-up would likely result in the same outcome. NZC, the Central Districts Cricket Association and the NCC agree this risk is unacceptable."

The city council has committed to a $900,000 upgrade of the ground - which includes a complete replacement of the playing surface, drainage and irrigation system.

"By doing this, we can look forward with confidence to McLean Park hosting next summer's ODIs between the BLACKCAPS and England, and the BLACKCAPS and Pakistan," Crummy said.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said he was "bitterly disappointed on behalf of the fans, the players and the Council.

"In essence, we have a fantastic ground in a superb location but the turf is old and has deteriorated dramatically in the face of the recent drought conditions in the Hawke's Bay. There are issues with the organic matter beneath the surface of the ground - issues we didn't know about and are now urgently dealing with."

The match against Australia was the second straight abandoned ODI at McLean Park - the same fate had befallen the ODI against Pakistan in January 2016. The ground took in far more rain on that occasion, however, than it did on the morning of the Chappell-Hadlee match.