HKCA is hoping the portable tracks once used on Everest and Kilimanjaro will help make up for lack of grounds – piece by Alvin Sallay taken from http://www.scmp.com/sport/hong-kong/article/1614715/hong-kong-cricket-hopes-flicx-pitches-will-boost-local-game
Flicx pitches have been used to play cricket at Everest base camp as well as the roof of Africa near the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Now four of these roll-up surfaces have been purchased by the Hong Kong Cricket Association as it tries to grapple with the shortage of grounds.
“We have got four Flicx pitches and two will be used at KGV while we are looking to use the other two at Po Kong Village Reservoir (PKVR) Park and Mission Road,” says Rodney Miles, president of the Hong Kong Cricket Association.
“These pitches are used quite a lot around the world and in Hong Kong we can use it to increase the number of grounds available for cricket.”
The plastic tracks have been a hit ever since a group of enthusiastic cricketers played a charity game 5,165 metres above sea level and close to the Mount Everest base camp in 2009.
That match held the record for cricket played at the “highest level” until last month when former test players, England spinner Ashley Giles and South African fast bowler Makhaya Ntini, led an expedition which trekked for eight days as they scaled the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, an extinct volcano, to play a Twenty20 match at 5,785 metres. “As long as you have a fairly firm surface underneath, you can roll out this pitch and have a game of cricket,” said Miles.
“It is pretty amazing and we hope we can use it extensively in Hong Kong. It can certainly provide much-wanted facilities. Already we have added two junior grounds at KGV.
“Instead of having to build a pitch, which can be very costly – that is provided you get the space first to do so – now we can roll it out and have a match. This is more acceptable too,” Miles added.
The HKCA is in discussions with Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) to allow Flicx cricket pitches to be used at PKVR and Mission Road, effectively doubling the amount of cricket games that can be played at each ground. Other LCSD venues in Tung Chung and Tuen Mun are also being targeted.
Hong Kong has just five grounds for cricket – the two established clubs (Hong Kong Cricket Club and Kowloon Cricket Club), Mission Road, PTS (Police Training School) and PKVR Park.
Until long-term plans to bring on board facilities in Gin Drinkers Bay at Kwai Chung, Ma On Shan and ultimately for cricket to be able to use the proposed Kai Tak Sports Complex facility, the association has pinned its hopes on Flicx pitches living up to its hype – taking cricket to where it has never been played before – and pushing the sport forward in the city.