Final preparations underway as international cricket returns to Queenstown

England U19 squad with Cllr Scott Stevens 120119
Jan 13, 2018

Queenstown is all set to host its first international cricket match since 2015 on Monday as the International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 Cricket World Cup gets underway.

The John Davies Oval at Queenstown Events Centre will feature nine matches during the tournament which is being staged throughout New Zealand from 13 January until 3 February.

Entry is free to watch all matches which include England’s four group games against Namibia, Bangladesh and Canada starting on 15 January. The top two sides from each group advance to a Super League with six of these matches, including two quarter finals on 23 and 26 January, also played on the oval.

Queenstown Lakes District Councillor Scott Stevens said he was looking forward to watching international cricket in Queenstown again after a $640,000 upgrade of the John Davies Oval.

“Getting the turf back up to ICC standard has been a marvellous team effort. With eight tournament matches here being broadcast live around the world, millions of cricket fans will see the results of everyone’s hard work,” said Cllr Stevens.

“Most of the England squad have never been to New Zealand before and the players were telling me how blown away they are by the opportunity to play cricket on such a beautiful ground. We welcome all the teams playing here during the tournament and hope they’ll cherish the memory of their visit to the Queenstown Lakes district so early in their careers.”

Andrew Douglas, head groundsman for Delta at Queenstown Events Centre, said the dry summer had required careful management of the new turf.

"I'm delighted with the condition of the pitch despite recent hot weather. It's a traditional Queenstown wicket and we're on track for a great tournament," said Mr Douglas.

All but one of Queenstown’s matches will be broadcast globally on TV which will shine a spotlight on the district as an international tourist destination as well as a venue for international cricket. The most recent tournament held in Bangladesh in 2016 generated 2.2 billion viewing minutes and was carried by 15 broadcasters in 131 territories.

As a free, family event the ICC has stipulated that there are no alcohol sales on site and no BYO alcohol is permitted. Everyone is welcome to bring their own picnic and soft drinks and there will be a food truck on site.

Full details are available on the QLDC Sport and Recreation website.

Image caption: Councillor Scott Stevens with members of the England U19 Cricket squad (L to R) Prem Sisodiya, Tom Banton and Luke Hollman.