South Canterbury cricket fans will be able to watch the domestic one-day cricket match between Canterbury and Otago for free at Aorangi Oval next Wednesday.
South Canterbury Cricket and Canterbury Cricket have decided to allow free admission to the game, to try to entice as many people as possible to take a look at the midweek fixture.
With people returning to work and schools’ beginning their new year, Canterbury Cricket chief executive Lee Germon said the decision was made following a conversation with new South Canterbury Cricket chief executive officer David Fisher.
“We want to find how we can make [domestic cricket] accessible for people.
“With people going back to school and work, we realised the probable viewing public who would go to the game would probably be down.”
Germon said he and Fisher had discussed the idea of sending a bucket around the crowd for donations towards South Canterbury Cricket, which he was in favour of.
Germon said all money raised would stay in South Canterbury.
With crowd numbers for domestic 50-over games being low at Canterbury’s two other home grounds of the Village Green, at QEII Park, in Christchurch and Rangiora’s oval, Germon was keen to see how many people would turn up.
“We had 500 people at the Rangiora game, which was a good crowd, but certainly numbers are down, and that’s a trend which is happening across all the major associations.
“I’m keen to see how it all pans out, and look at the ongoing sustainability of the game.”
Germon said South Canterbury had produced the biggest crowd for a domestic Twenty20 home game for Canterbury this season, when “close to 2000 people” turned up to watch them take on Wellington on December 23.
He said it was a chance to thank South Cantabrians for their support of the match.
He said he and the Canterbury Cricket Board were “more than happy” with how South Canterbury Cricket were hosting domestic cricket matches, and despite the one-day game being free, South Canterbury people should not take it as a sign that the Wizards may be playing their last domestic game at Aorangi Oval for the near future.
“We’re delighted with how South Canterbury Cricket is doing. The pitch has produced plenty of runs, and the players really love coming to play there.
“South Canterbury Cricket seem to be getting a good handle on how to host domestic cricket.”
Fisher said they would like to match the Rangiora crowd figure, especially with the history of the Aorangi Oval pitch producing plenty of runs.