Canterbury Cricket chief executive Lee Germon has given his assurance the Canterbury Wizards are committed to playing matches at Timaru’s Aorangi Oval, despite Thursday’s poor crowd.

Canterbury Cricket introduced a new ticket-scanning method for the match which allowed it to determine accurately how many people attended the Twenty20 match between the Wizards and Otago Volts.

Rumours suggested a paltry 600 watched the Volts win by one run; Germon said that was not the case.

“Our figures show us that it was more like 900,” he said, “which is about half the crowd we had last year.”

Germon said he was not concerned by the figure and there were still positives to take from it.

“I don’t think the weather helped, it was a bit overcast and cooler and if I remember right, it was a really hot day for the same game [12 months ago].

“Last year we sold four presale tickets, this year we sold around 75, which shows us there was interest there and that’s a market we want explore in the future.”

Germon said his organisation “is committed to bringing the Wizards to Timaru and back to Aorangi Oval”.

“We have had some of our best crowds [for home games] in Timaru for the last two or three years,” he said.

“Just because we didn’t get a big crowd this year, doesn’t mean we stay away.”

When domestic cricket returned to Aorangi Oval after a five-year absence in 2009, close to 2000 people turned up to watch and crowd numbers have remained consistent ever since.

Germon said the facilities at Aorangi Oval were “adequate” for the game, but improvements would need to be made around internet access and media facilities.

South Canterbury Cricket acting executive officer Mark Medlicott said he, too, was disappointed with the turnout but he was confident that with fine weather and some tweaking to the facilities, Aorangi Oval could attract big crowds for domestic cricket matches.

“At the end of it all, we want to bring high-quality cricket to the public of this area,” Medlicott said.”

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