News international cricket is set to return to Queenstown next year has been welcomed across the region.
The resort has been named as one of four host cities for next year’s ICC U19 Cricket World Cup.
Nine games are scheduled to be played at the Sir John Davies Oval, at the Queenstown Events Centre, during the 48-match event.
Queenstown will host three group matches, two “Super League” quarterfinal matches and four Super League playoff matches, between January 15 and February 1.
All games will be broadcast live to an international audience.
It will be the first international cricket in Queenstown since 2014.
Tournament director Brendan Bourke said the broadcasts ensured the area would be showcased “in all its glory”.
Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult says securing the games is a major achievement and reflects the council’s recent investment in the ground.
A just-completed $640,000 upgrade helped bring the ground back up to international standards.
Work included spreading 90mm of sand over a drainage system developed for sports fields, making the ground more attractive to high-level sports teams and allowing increased use by the community.
“We look forward to welcoming young cricketers and supporters from around the world to experience one of the world’s most iconic cricket grounds,” Boult says.
Otago Cricket Association boss Mike Coggan said the really good news was reward for the hard work of dedicated people and the Queenstown Lakes District Council.
The association’s operations manager, Tim O’Sullivan, was in Queenstown to help.
Another benefit for the association was its A team could play under-19 sides in warm-up matches.
Destination Queenstown boss Graham Budd also welcomes the announcement and said it was great to see the resort chosen to host another world-class sporting event.
Other tournament host venues are Christchurch, Tauranga and Whangarei.
Coggan says the University Oval, Dunedin, was not considered as the ground would be used for other games at the time.
The ICC’s 10 test-playing nations automatically qualified for the tournament, along with Namibia, which qualified highest of the non-test-playing nations at the previous tournament, and five regional qualifiers.
Otago Daily Times