Renovation work at Eden Park has meant that Auckland Cricket will have to shift from its home base for the first time in 103 years. The stadium, which hosts international cricket and rugby matches, is set to undergo a NZ$320 million facelift in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Traditionally, Auckland play their domestic games at the Eden Park Outer Oval adjacent to the main stadium. However, the Oval will not be in a position to host any matches, with the construction work likely to affect the surrounding areas. International cricket will continue to be played at Eden Park, despite the renovation.
According to a report in The New Zealand Herald, Auckland are close to formalising an arrangement with the Eden Park Trust Board (EPTB) - which manages the venue - regarding the shift, but the search for a suitable alternative venue is proving to be difficult, as each has its share of merits and demerits. The possible venues include the University grounds at the Merton Road campus, Melville Park behind the Teachers' College in Epsom, Western Springs and North Harbour Stadium at Albany.
"We are in negotiations with the Eden Park Trust Board," Brent King, Cricket Auckland's chairman said. "We're seeking a way in which we can continue to work with the EPTB and have a ground that's appropriate for Auckland Cricket.
"We are looking at a number of grounds and like anything in life they have benefits and detriments. Some of them are perfect grounds but poorly located. All these things are incredibly testing for everybody. Everyone has their opinions on what is most important."
North Shore City, another likely venue, has indicated that it would be keen to host games. "We have been in a dialogue with Auckland Cricket for the greater part of the year," Brendan O'Connor, the stadium's chief executive said. "They're not just talking to us, they're talking to other potential venues as well. It hasn't got to the formal negotiation point yet."