The Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) has launched a plan to install lights at Bellerive Oval after being told it risked losing future one-day international fixtures unless it became a viable day-night venue. The TCA hopes the light towers could be built as early as next year, although it is likely to face opposition from local residents.
In his first day as the TCA chairman, Tony Harrison said he was hoping to lodge a development application with the Clarence City Council within a matter of weeks. The urgency from the TCA has been sparked after Cricket Australia and Channel Nine expressed strong reservations about scheduling further day games at Bellerive.
"Cricket's broadcast partners have told us that lighting is required if they are to continue to telecast matches from Bellerive," Harrison said. "As a result, Cricket Australia has advised that it will be difficult to program one-day international and Twenty20 matches here if they are not telecast."
The TCA has for years been keen to install lights at the ground but the local council and residents have provided consistent stumbling-blocks. However, Harrison believes lighting technology has advanced enough to mean that there would be no wash of lighting beyond the playing area, and retractable telescopic towers might be the way to go.
But Richard James, alderman with the Clarence Council, said there would still be strong opposition to the development. "I just think it's a ridiculous decision," James told the ABC, "and it's one I think that the TCA may learn to regret."
Harrison said the TCA appreciated the position of its neighbours and intended to work with them to deal with their concerns. Bellerive Oval has hosted two one-day internationals per season for the past two summers, but often receives only one per year.