The Queen's Park ground in Invercargill is set to host some of Otago's matches this season after nearly a decade of being overlooked in favour of the University Oval in Dunedin. But now, with the University Oval being used for New Zealand's first Test against Bangladesh in January and for an England tour game in March, Queen's Park will get finally a slice of the domestic pie.
Following a multi-million-dollar renovation of the ground and facilities, Queen's Park was inserted into the fixtures list for an Otago State Championship match against Wellington in March and a State Shield game against Northern Districts in February next year. Apart from those two matches, Queen's Park will also host a women's two-day game and a Twenty20. If Otago qualify for a State Shield home semi-final, Queen's Park will be booked for the playoff.
Richard Hoskins, the executive officer of the Southland Cricket Association (SCA), said it was expected Queen's Park would get high-quality fixtures this season. "We are delighted and now we just have to make sure the wicket continues to play well and we host some good fixtures," Hoskins told the Southland Times. "It's really positive."
According to the report, the SCA was also hoping to rope in Chris Cairns and Nathan Astle to play invitation one-day and Twenty20 games at Queen's Park in December.
Queen's Park last hosted a first-class game in February 1998 as part of the Shell Trophy when Canterbury beat Otago by seven wickets. The last State Shield one-day match at Queen's Park was in January 2002 when Central Districts beat Otago by 99 runs.