Stadium completion date now 'early March' January 30, 2007

Another delay at Kensington Oval

Philip Spooner

The completion date for Kensington Oval has again been re-adjusted and the ground will now be ready in "early March".

Building work is now taking place around the clock to get the historic venue ready to host matches during the World Cup, including the final on April 28. Details on the new date were revealed yesterday by Don Lockerbie, venue development director for the tournament. He noted that it would not affect the grand re-opening ceremony planned for the facility on February 17. "Kensington Oval looks to be completed in early March," Lockerbie told the Nation yesterday. "We are confident we will have all systems in place. We have been told that Kensington will be substantially complete in time for the February 17 event, but we all appreciate there is still plenty to do."

Lockerbie was speaking yesterday from the new Warner Park in Basseterre, St Kitts, as senior officials from the ICC, the CWC office, and the Federation of International Cricket Associations (FICA) started a final venue assessment tour ahead of the tournament. The group, which includes ICC general manager Dave Richardson and FICA president Tim May, will be in Barbados on Saturday to visit Kensington and the other venues - 3Ws Oval, Windward Cricket Club and Weymouth ground.

The work at Kensington was originally slated to be finished last December 31. This was switched to the second week in February after it was found out that portions of the roofs were behind schedule. The delay has come about as a result of some finishings to be done on the stands as well as the aesthetics on the outskirts of the ground.

"It would appear there seems to be a moving target but there is no need to be fearful," Lockerbie said. "With what we're working with now, the ground will be ready about four to five weeks before the first Super 8 match (April 11). We will be working to have the roofs, the courtyard and all the decorative finishes done. The aim here is to make sure all our systems are fully in place. It's not just a matter of building a structure, but we have to ensure that all is in place to operate and all is fully functional."

Kensington Oval is being redeveloped at a cost of $135 million to seat 28,000 fans, up from the previous capacity of 12,500.

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