International cricket returns to Saxton Oval

From left: Nelson Regional Development Agency Events Lead Rebecca Leach, Nelson Cricket General Manager George Vance, Tasman District Councillor Kit Maling, Nelson Mayor Nick Smith, and Nelson City Councillor Tim Skinner.

Get ready to party at Saxton Oval – the BLACKCAPS and WHITE FERNS are coming back to Nelson this summer!

Nelson will host three international matches in the 2023-24 home season starting with the BLACKCAPS playing a One-Day International (ODI) against Bangladesh in the build-up to Christmas this year.

When the teams face off from 11am, Wednesday 20 December, it will be the first ODI at Saxton Oval for five years, and the match will be a potential series decider as the second fixture in a three-match series.
Fast forward to March 2024 and New Zealand’s WHITE FERNS are looking forward to touching down in Nelson as well.
Sophie Devine’s team will play two big T20 Internationals at Saxton Oval against their great rivals, England, on Friday 22 and Sunday 24 March 2024 — both afternoon games starting at 1pm.
It’s an exciting return to the women’s international cricket calendar for the stunning Stoke venue with the WHITE FERNS having last played here in 2016.
It will also be a first for England women, who were semi-finalists at last year’s ICC T20 World Cup and will come prepared with big name stars from the recent women’s Ashes series when they meet New Zealand in the second and third clashes of a big, five-match T20 international series.
Nelson Mayor Nick Smith says the announcement of three international matches at Saxton Oval is wonderful news for Nelson.
“Saxton Oval is a fantastic cricket venue that enables our region to host international games. The benefits are enabling Nelsonians to enjoy our BLACKCAPS and WHITE FERNS, attracting visitors to our region, inspiring a new generation of cricket players, and showcasing Nelson through national and international coverage.”
Saxton Oval is part of the Saxton Field regional sporting complex, which is developed and managed jointly by Nelson City Council and Tasman District Council. 
“Earlier this year, both councils helped drive the installation of fibre internet direct to the wicket, a requirement for hosting international games. This allows broadcasters to use stump mics and cameras when they cover matches and enables umpires to make in-game decisions using optical tracking systems,” Mayor Nick says.
Nelson City Council agreed at its 6 July meeting to contribute $80,000 from the Events Fund to secure three games in Nelson on the recommendation of the Events Development Committee. The Nelson Regional Development Agency estimated economic benefits to the region of $2.5 million, or 32:1, exceeding the Events Strategy target of 20:1. The $80,000 cost to Nelson City Council is partially offset by $31,950 paid for the hire of Saxton Oval.
“Bringing the BLACKCAPS to Nelson brings with it a pre-Christmas boost to the local economy. It will be a real highlight for early summer this year. The WHITE FERNS’ games in March will help maintain our visitor industry into autumn and the shoulder season,” Mayor Nick says.
Tickets for the international home season will go on sale 1 November 2023 with exclusive presales available to Central Districts Cricket Nation members in October.
Central Districts Chief Executive Lance Hamilton says it is very exciting to be bringing international cricket back to the top of the south this summer – the return of international cricket to Nelson for the first time in five years.
"It was awesome working closely with Nelson City Council, Nelson Regional Development Agency, and our affiliate, Nelson Cricket Association, to ensure we collectively put our best foot forward when trying to secure these fixtures for the Nelson cricket public.
“The Central Stags and Hinds’ Dream11 Super Smash day was a great success earlier this year at Saxton Oval, and I have no doubt we can collectively ensure a similar outcome for these international fixtures, and our BLACKCAPS and WHITEFERNS, returning to Nelson this coming summer."
Nelson Cricket General Manager George Vance says he is thrilled to see international cricket return to Nelson.
“It’s the summer of cricket in Nelson. Nelson has a world-class venue and a strong cricket community that will take huge pride showcasing the game and the region to the world.
“It has been fantastic to work alongside multiple councils and organisations that have all played a role in Saxton securing international fixtures this summer. Hosting the BLACKCAPS and WHITE FERNS is a great result for the region and exciting events for the community to enjoy with friends and family.”
At Saxton Oval, Stoke Nelson:
11am • 20 Dec 2023 • BLACKCAPS v Bangladesh • ODI
1pm • 22 Mar 2024 • WHITE FERNS v England • T20 International
1pm • 24 Mar 2024 • WHITE FERNS v England • T20 International