Bellerive Oval

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Bellerive Oval
Blundstone Arena
Bellerive oval hobart.jpg
Australia vs England cricket ODI, 2005
Former names None
Location Bellerive, Tasmania
Coordinates 42°52′38″S 147°22′25″E / 42.87722°S 147.37361°E / -42.87722; 147.37361Coordinates: 42°52′38″S 147°22′25″E / 42.87722°S 147.37361°E / -42.87722; 147.37361
Owner Clarence City Council
Operator Tasmanian Cricket Assosition (TCA)
Capacity 16,200
Surface Grass
Construction
Broke ground 1913
Opened 1914
Construction cost Unknown
Architect Various
Tenants
Tasmanian Tigers (Cricket)
Clarence Roos (TSL)
Hobart Hurricanes (Cricket)
North Melbourne Football Club (AFL)

Bellerive Oval, also known by its sponsored name Blundstone Arena, is primarily a cricket and Australian Rules Football ground located in Bellerive, City of Clarence, on the eastern shore of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. It is the only venue in Tasmania which currently hosts international cricket matches, and has a capacity of approximately 16,000, although a record crowd of 16,719 watched Australia play England in 2003.

It is best known as the home ground for the state cricket teams, the Tasmanian Tigers and Hobart Hurricanes, and as a venue for international Test matches since 1989 and one-day matches since 1988. Bellerive Oval underwent a $16 million re-development at very start of the 21st century and that was completed at the end of 2002. The re-development includes: state-of-the-art indoor nets, a 6,000 seat Southern Stand that contains the new television media centre, Members Area that features press and radio media areas, as well as corporate boxes and lunchrooms, members bar, TCA offices and a players area.

History[edit]

Front Gate Bellerive Oval
Bellerive Oval with lights on, 2011

Football and cricket first started being played in the area where Bellerive Oval is now in the mid-to-late 19th century. In 1884 the first football match on record from the area was played between Carlton and Bellerive. In 1913 the piece of land located between the now Beach, Church and Derwent streets was sold to the Clarence council. One year later, the new Bellerive recreation ground was ready for use.

The ground barely changed from then until the mid-1980s. During this time the ground had a hump in the centre of the ground making only the top half of players visible from the other side of the ground. There was a shed for players located where the main pavilion now stands. There was a hill on the outer (where the hill now is) that could accommodate two rows of vehicles, the small scoreboard stood on the outer close to where the electronic scoreboard is now, and the time clock sat about halfway up a training light tower. The police booth sat, until very recently, in the north-east corner of the oval. A concrete cricket pitch served for local junior teams until the 1956/57 season, when it was replaced by a turf wicket.

In 1948 The Clarence Football Club, a tenant of the ground, applied to join the Tasmanian Football League, and the ground had to upgrade to TFL standards.

Some minor upgrades were made in the 1960s, clubrooms were built in 1961, and in 1963 a small grandstand (seating about 500) and a new PA system were installed.

TCA moves to Bellerive[edit]

In 1977, Tasmania gained admission into the Sheffield Shield and a plan was put in place by the TCA to move from its headquarters at the TCA Ground on the Domain to a new oval. Bellerive Oval was chosen ahead of KGV Oval and North Hobart Oval. $2,200,000 was spent building new grandstands, training nets, a hill, new surface and centre wicket, the old TCA Ground scoreboard was relocated there, and the masterpiece – the three level Members' Pavilion was constructed. The newly refurbished ground was opened in 1986 for a TFL Statewide League roster match between Clarence and Hobart, 3,562-people attended the match which saw a Clarence victory. However, significant damage to the newly laid turf which saw an enormous amounts of divots in the playing surface, no more football matches were scheduled at the ground for the remainder of the 1986 TFL season.

The move was made in 1987 under TCA Chairman Denis Rogers, in time for its first international match – between Sri Lanka and New Zealand on 12 January 1988, before a crowd of 6,500.[1]

The first Test match in Tasmania was played at Bellerive from the 16–20 December 1989, between Australia and Sri Lanka.[2][3] Shortly afterwards, the new electronic scoreboard and Northern Stand was erected.

In 2007, the venue saw the Tasmanian Tigers win the state's first Pura Cup, and in 2008 the ground hosted its first Ford Ranger Cup final, also won by Tasmania.

The oval became the first major cricket facility in Australia to sign a naming rights sponsor in October 2011. An agreement with Blundstone Footwear would see the venue called Blundstone Arena.[4]

Structures and facilities[edit]

Members' Stand in 2009

In 1999, the Federal Government announced that it would contribute $5 million to upgrade Bellerive. The TCA added an extra $10 million to upgrade on loan from the state government, and the Clarence City Council an extra 1 million dollars for a $16 million upgrade. The first part of this upgrade was the state-of-the-art indoor nets. The 6,000 seater Southern Stand came next, which blocked winds and views of the Derwent, and contained the new media centre. The new Members' Area was the last of the upgrades, along with new perimeter fence and entry gates. The Members' Area features press and radio media areas, corporate boxes and lunchrooms, as well as the players areas, member's bars and TCA offices. The redevelopment was officially opened on 11 January 2003, when an overcrowd of 16,719 (official capacity 16000) witnessed a thrilling one day match between Australia and the old foes England, with Australia winning in a thriller. Tasmanian Tiger Shane Watson became the hero for Australia, bowling the very tense final over. Nowadays the spacious hill is the most popular seating areas in the ground, mainly because usually it's one of the cheapest areas. The Southern Stand is the most expensive stand to sit in.

To allow for day night matches to be played at the venue, four light towers were installed in 2009 at a cost of A$4.8 million. This development enhances the venue's suitability to continue hosting international one-day and Twenty20 matches.[5] The installation of these lights sparked significant debate from groups both for and against the new towers.[6][7]

The ground is set to be further redeveloped by 2015, with the state government providing $15 million to expand the Southern Stand and Members' Stand, increasing the ground's capacity to over 20,000. The redevelopment is being done in the hope of hosting games in the 2015 Cricket World Cup, along with an Ashes Test in the future, and the possibility of locking in a long term commitment for AFL games. AFL Tasmania is also looking at moving its offices to the ground as part of the redevelopment.[8]

A panorama of Australia v New Zealand Cricket One-day International in 2007

Events[edit]

As well as being the home of domestic and international cricket and the Clarence Football Club in the now Tasmanian State League, Bellerive Oval served in 2003 as a home to the Tasmanian Devils in the VFL. The first match attracted the highest VFL roster match crowd since 1986 – 6,970. The venue also hosted Tasmania's two finals matches, with the elimination win against Geelong (4,800) and 10,073 for the semi final against Port Melbourne, which the Devils lost after squandering a 23-point lead at three quarter time.

AFL matches[edit]

In 2010, talk of Melbourne-based Australian Football League (AFL) clubs shifting home games to Bellerive Oval surfaced.[9] Richmond were considered the early front-runners, but by July 2010 North Melbourne became the most likely candidate, given their willingness to move more than just two matches.[10] On 7 June 2011, the North Melbourne Football Club announced a new three-year deal in partnership with transport company TT-Line Company, who announced its intent to sponsor North Melbourne home games in Hobart, at Bellerive Oval. From 2012, North Melbourne will play two home games per year at the venue.[11] The first game was played 8 April 2012 in Round 2, in which North Melbourne defeated the fledgling Greater Western Sydney Giants by 129 points.

Crowds[edit]

Hill, Australia v South Africa, 2009

The record attendance for Bellerive Oval is 16,719 for a One Day International between Australia and England on 14 January 2003.[12] The first international match at the venue was again a One Day International between New Zealand and Sri Lanka on 12 January 1988 and attracted a then record crowd for an international in Hobart of 6,180.[13] On 21 February 2010, a Twenty20 International match between Australia and the West Indies attracted a crowd of 15,575. This was the first international day-night cricket match played at Bellerive Oval.

Attendance records[edit]

Top 10 Sports Attendance Records

No. Date Teams Sport Competition Crowd
1 14 January 2003 Australia v. England Cricket ODI 16,719
2 14 January 2007 Australia v. New Zealand Cricket ODI 15,690
3 18 January 2009 Australia v. South Africa Cricket ODI 15,671
4 21 January 2010 Australia v. West Indies Cricket T20 15,575
5 16 January 2005 Australia v. Pakistan Cricket ODI 15,503
6 21 January 2011 Australia v. England Cricket ODI 15,125
7 22 January 2012 Hobart Hurricanes v. Sydney Sixers Cricket T20 14,185
8 7 July 2012 North Melbourne v. West Coast Australian rules football AFL 14,113 [14]
9 9 January 2012 Hobart Hurricanes v. Melbourne Stars Cricket T20 13,713
10 13 April 2013 North Melbourne v. Sydney Australian rules football AFL 13,221

Last updated on the 19th of April 2013

Transport[edit]

Metro buses are available to and from Bellerive Oval and there are also Ferry Services from Hobart City to Bellerive Wharf.

Bellerive Oval has little provision for spectator parking for a venue of its capacity, which the Council estimates as 15000 for one day international cricket matches and 5000-10000 for other high profile events, this results in large numbers of parked vehicles in the surrounding streets on the few days a year international or interstate high profile events are held. This also results in access issues for local residents and heavy traffic congestion both before and prior to the event often requiring special measures such as traffic police.

Historically Bellerive Oval was only a small venue and its development into an international venue has for outgrown the capacity of local infrastructure to adequately handle the large influxes of patrons attempting to access the venue.

Local Controversy[edit]

In an attempt to address the parking and access issues, development of the Oval has encroached upon adjacent properties and in particular the Bellerive Rotary Park situated between the Oval and the beach.[15] This park is on land owned by the Clarence Council as is the adjacent Oval. As the Oval is an exclusive, fenced-off area and the park in an inclusive area open to all residents many residents reject encroachment by the Oval as it denies access, particularly to children engaging in free style play.

Future development may involve a significant proportion of the park being converted into a multi-level car park / parking lot which would only be fully utilized on those few days a year the Oval was hosting high profile events.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sri Lanka v New Zealand Benson & Hedges World Series Cup 12 January 1987/88 (2006) Cricinfo
  2. ^ 2nd Test Australia v Sri Lanka 16–20 December 1989 (2006) Cricinfo
  3. ^ Bellerive Oval Profile (2006) Cricinfo
  4. ^ "Welcome to Blundstone Arena". Fox Sports (Australia). 6 October 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  5. ^ "Cricket lights up at Bellerive". The Mercury. 19 October 2009. 
  6. ^ "Bellerive Oval lights debate sparks online petition". ABC News. 26 October 2008. 
  7. ^ "Locals pull up stumps over lights". Australia. 19 October 2009. 
  8. ^ "Drive for $21m Oval upgrade". The Mercury. November 18, 2010. 
  9. ^ Home games in Hobart: three Victorian clubs are interested, The Age, Retrieved on 29 July 2010.
  10. ^ Don't knock North for looking at Hobart, The Roar, Retrieved on 29 July 2010.
  11. ^ AFL sponsor revealed, The Mercury, Retrieved on 7 June 2011.
  12. ^ "Bellerive Oval Crowds". Australian Stadiums. Retrieved 22 January 2008. 
  13. ^ "NEW ZEALAND v SRI LANKA 1987–88". Cricinfo. Retrieved 22 January 2008. 
  14. ^ http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2012/07/08/344161_afl.html
  15. ^ http://prelive.themercury.com.au/article/2012/06/04/334121_tasmania-news.html

External links[edit]