St Paul’s Collegiate School’s cricket pitch – Way’s Oval – has been named club/school pitch of the year by New Zealand Cricket (NZC). It is the first time this particular award has been presented at a national level.
The news came from Ian McKendry, NZC’s GM Grounds and Facilities, and is testament to the hard work of groundsman Ian Boyle and the team at St Paul’s over the 2017-18 season.
“This inaugural award has been presented to St Paul’s as a reflection of the investment and work done to produce an outstanding ground. It is based on the positive feedback received from the Northern Districts and Hamilton cricket associations who have played there over the course of the season,” says Mr McKendry.
NZC select their pitch of the year awards for international, domestic and club/school based on information and data collated from player surveys, match reports and ICC reports.
“The awards recognise the outstanding contribution from the turf management teams responsible for the preparation of cricket surfaces across all New Zealand venues,” says Mr McKendry.
“The quality of cricket surfaces is an important part of the development and enjoyment of our players at all levels – from the community game through to the high performance pathways of domestic and international women’s and men’s competitions,” he says.
For Mr Boyle, who has been the cricket groundsman at St Paul’s for eight years, the award came as a complete surprise.
“It was an unexpected yet pleasant surprise. A lot of work went into preparing the pitch for the recent season. Last year we dug it up to breathe new life into it and that certainly seems to have helped the quality of the grass wicket,” he says.
The domestic and international pitches of the year were named as follows: Basin Reserve (domestic short form cricket pitch), Eden Park No 2 (domestic long form cricket pitch), Hagley Oval (international long form cricket pitch) and Bay Oval (international short form cricket pitch).
Photo Caption: St Paul’s cricket groundsman Ian Boyle and his assistant, 2017 school leaver Mitchell Bailey.