Taranaki’s biggest football matches will be played at New Plymouth’s Pukekura Park and Yarrow Stadium in 2019.
New Plymouth Rangers chairman Monty Ammundsen has announced the club will play its Lotto Federation League matches at those venues, rather than its home ground at Merrilands which has extensive use during the season.
"We need to be playing on a good surface in this league to compete with the other teams from Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu and Whanganui who play on quality surfaces week in, week out,” he said.
“Moving from our home ground of Merrilands Domain wasn’t an easy decision to make, but we have six senior teams playing during the winter and that has put so much pressure on the Domain that our main field wasn’t at what we considered an acceptable standard,” he said.
The combination of dry then very wet weather also contributed to the problem, and ultimately impacted on the quality of football on show, he added.
Six matches will be played on Pukekura Park and four at Yarrow Stadium. The Yarrow venue will be used when cricket is being played at Pukekura Park.
In the absence of Team Taranaki, Rangers is the only men’s team from Taranaki playing in the higher leagues and would like to keep this pathway available for young talent to pursue. “There has to be somewhere for players to strive to, a way to keep developing and be seen” says Ammundsen.
“We are also hoping that this will create opportunities for our junior teams or other club fixtures to be played as curtain raisers to the Federation match”
The Rangers Federation team has already started pre-season training with an eye on a full fixture list in the New Year, beginning with an away challenge against current Chatham Cup holders, Birkenhead United.
New Plymouth Rangers Club Captain John Sigurdsson scoping out the new home ground at Pukekura Park