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StrathAyr Portable Pitch At Eden Park

StrathAyr Portable Pitch At Eden Park Gives Rugby And Cricket Best Of Both Worlds

Auckland, Friday 16 February, 2001 - Eden Park Chief Executive, John Alexander, today announced that final preparations are underway for the installation of a StrathAyr portable pitch at the stadium. It is the first fully portable pitch in New Zealand and will be used over the coming month for Super 12 rugby and the five day cricket test against Pakistan.

"This portable pitch technology enables us to provide a world-class ground for all sports played at Eden Park, even when seasons coincide," said Alexander. "It is proven technology and will put our ground among the best in the world for rugby and cricket. It will also increase the flexibility of the Park when potential clashes between playing seasons arise."

StrathAyr, a leading Australian turf and sports field systems company, has worked with Eden Park and Recreational Turf, Eden Park's turf contractors, to develop three trays of turf for use as portable pitches: one rugby tray and two cricket trays. The turf was grown in a specially designed nursery on the edge of Number Two oval at Eden Park.

The first stage of installation will follow this weekend's day/night game against Pakistan, when the current wicket block will be dug up and the portable rugby tray installed for the Blues' Super 12 game against the Crusaders on March 2nd.

On March 3rd, following the rugby game, the five day test against Pakistan will be played on a new cricket wicket, also grown on the Park's Number Two ground.

The trays will be transferred from the nursery to the Number One oval by the StrathAyr transporter, known as the TransportAyr. The design ensures that the TransportAyr does not damage the surface of the outfield when the transfer is made. The TransportAyr will be assembled over the next fortnight and will be permanently housed at Eden Park.

StrathAyr portable pitch technology is also used at Colonial Stadium in Melbourne. As part of the purchase from StrathAyr, Eden Park has acquired the licence for North Island applications of the technology. Recreational Turf will be responsible for the day to day management of the portable pitch.

"The cricket block has historically been the most difficult area of the ground to maintain for rugby," said David White, Chief Executive of Auckland Rugby Football Union. "This portable pitch gives our players a great surface, all year round. It will be a significant improvement and we are looking forward to it." Lindsay Crocker, Chief Executive of Auckland Cricket, said he was also pleased with the implementation of the portable pitch technology at Eden Park.

"Keeping the wicket in a suitable condition for both domestic and international fixtures has been a challenge in the past," he said. "This technology means that, for the first time, cricket has a great playing surface available at Eden Park whenever it is required."

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