Who should get priority at Dunedin’s University Oval?

Dunedin University Oval

International Cricket Should be Prioritized

Dunedin’s University Oval has hosted its fair share of epic battles, but an equally gripping contest is currently playing out off the field.

Cricket and Rugby have been drawn into the fight over who gets to use the land, and the Dunedin City Council is going to have to prioritise how the land will be used.

An Identity Crisis for the University Oval

The University Oval is a cricket ground during the somewhat warmer months of the year, and a rugby field the rest of the time.

This has gone off without a hitch since 2004, but is currently being put under strain by rival demands.

The OCA Keen on Development

The OCA would like to keep developing the University Oval ground into a top-notch venue, and, as part of this aim, would like to enlarge the pitch block.

The last thing that the Rugby Football Club for the University wants to see, however, is additional clay being dumped into its field.

The pitch block became a swamp after heavy rainfalls earlier on this year, and although the remainder of the playing surface was all right, the Club was impelled to move a few of its home games.

When the Dunedin Premier Club Semi-Finals needed to be transferred over to Hancock Park, the gloves came off, and the hitherto happy relationship began to fray.

Divorce is Imminent, and Dunedin City Council Decides

The Dunedin City Council is now tasked with deciding who gets the house, and who leaves with nothing in the divorce between these two games.

The decision may well be a simple one: the Council has invested significant resources into developing the land into a world-class venue, and international cricket games bring a big audience to the city, both nationally and internationally, especially in terms of the online betting NZ bookmakers make available but certainly not limited to that.

The fact remains, however that it is a premier facility and should certainly not be sitting empty when winter comes around each year.

No Simple Solution for the Growing Conflict

While the Dunedin City Council is determined to try to retain the University Oval’s dual-purpose usage, the conflict between the two activities needs resolving; no matter how complicated this solution may end up being.

One possible option could be to work out a drop-in pitch system, but this would be very costly, and it remains unclear whether or not the Council has the means to go through with the process.

The Rugby Club for the University has a considerable claim also: it signed an accompanying deed back in 2003, and this governs how the club can use the land.

The OCA, on the other hand, essentially just hires the grounds as needed. The city does, however, need a venue in which international and domestic cricket games of all formats can be hosted, and many feel that this should be the overriding priority.

Only time will tell, but University premiers may well need to make their way through ankle-deep mud every now and again until a workable answer has been found.

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