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Concern over state of ground
26 September 1997
from our Sixes Correspondents, Duane Pettet & Rohan Chandran

A shadow has been cast over this year's Sixes tournament as preparations reached the final stages here in Hong Kong. Concerns have been expressed from various quarters about the state of the pitch and surrounding grounds, and a close inspection reveals th at these worries are not totally unfounded.

Observation of the Hong Kong squad's Thursday night practice session suggested that the artificial pitch being used for the tournament this year, whilst perhaps keeping a little low, was playing very true, and former Hong Kong skipper, and current wicket- keeper, Pat Fordham confirmed this, saying "The wicket is great for batting!". Several telling blows into the third tier of seating served to confirm this during the session, which was held under lights.

Of greater concern to tournament organisers however, will be the state of the outfield. Since its opening 3 years ago, the Hong Kong Stadium pitch has come under constant criticism from both footballers and rugby players who have played on the surface. On Thursday night, the outfield appeared patchy in parts, with the layer of sand beneath the grass surface being all too evident in some areas. While this should not adversely affect the tournament in general, there were one or two occasions on which a loft ed drive to mid-on followed the flight path of a seven iron straight into a bunker - stopping dead on impact with the surface.

Organisers were quick to allay fears however, rightly pointing out that similar concerns expressed immediately prior to last year's tournament amounted to nothing, in spite of poor weather conditions as well. This year's tournament looks set to be played under clear skies, and all the indications are that it will be a rousing success.

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Date-stamped : 21 Oct2000 - 14:06