Kai Tak, ready for development

Long searching for a ground to call their own where they could properly train and play and even hold full-international matches, the Hong Kong Cricket Association have finally found what they’ve been looking for at Kai Tak, site of the former airport in Kowloon.

“Negotiations had been going for almost three years with the Hong Kong government and we finally got the lease in July,” says Association (HKCA) General Manager Danny Lai.

Hong Kong’s government are providing the ground and the ACC are providing the funds for construction, estimated at US$210,000, and work is expected to be completed in September 2010. The three-acre (12000 square metres) site will have a centre pitch plus two pitches at the sides. The plan is to have all pitches in use at weekends for men’s, women’s and juniors’ cricket among Hong Kong’s 27 clubs.

An aerial view of the old Kai Tak airport site

Kai Tak airport, renowned for its challenging landings for aircraft, was decommissioned in 1998 when Hong Kong took on its new airport at Chep Lak Kok in Lantau island. The new ground’s location in Kowloon makes it easily accessible for all cricketers and fans and with vistas of the city on one side, will permanently be in the public eye. “We are delighted by the site and will use it to expand cricket’s appeal in Hong Kong,” says Mr. Lai. “It’s tremendously supportive of cricket here that the local authority has provided the ground, we’ll be looking at selling the naming rights to secure funds for ongoing maintenance. It’s a great asset to cricket in this part of the world and I expect we’ll see some exciting developments in the years ahead,” he adds.

A ground at Mission Road in Kowloon is about to be completed which meets international standards and will be used extensively for club cricket and an all-weather floodlit ground at Po Kong will also be available for evening matches if necessary. “There’s also a playing area at Po Kong Village Road for use by juniors and national team training. Longer-term we are hoping that a super site at Gin Drinkers Bay will be available, on an extended lease for the HKCA,” says Hon. Secretary John Cribbin.

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Filed Sep 10th, 2009