As kids, we all have stories of playing cricket in the backyard of our homes. We regularly took up those little areas to play the sport in evenings, and often, it was done more out of the lack of having proper playing fields in our localities, and less out of personal desire.
But there's one backyard cricketer, who’s love for the game transcended the paucity of proper cricketing infrastructure in his area, as he went on to built a “field of dreams" – a full-sized laser-levelled cricket ground over a rise at the back of his house.
In the small town of Manawaitu in New Zealand, Ben McKelvie, a dairy farmer by profession, met members of the Palmerston North premier-3 Bloomfield Cricket Club while playing cricket in his backyard, and along with them, decided to create a pitch for them in his backyard.
The pitch would be used as a home ground for the Bloomfield Club.
The “field of dreams” is a manicured lawn of 13378 square metres area with a proper batting block in the middle.
But it was not all hunky dory for McKelvie when he started first began the process of turning, what initially were winter pastures for ponies, to a proper cricket turf.
Persistent rains, lack of pitch-building expertise, as well as the lack of funds, were critical roadblocks in McKelvie’s journey, but it did not stop him from achieving his dream.
In an interview to Stuff. co. nz, McKelvie explained that he sought advice from professional groundsmen in Palmerston North, and was also aided in terms of funds by local contractors.
Given the geographical constraints in the area, McKelvie had to get rid of pines surrounding his backyard. He is also getting a scoreboard build, and later might also get a pavilion made.
Given the speed of development, the ‘field of dreams’ is expected to host its first game – a friendly – come the new year.