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SBD Global/September 19, 2012/Facilities

Roof Turns Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium Into A Kicking Nightmare

A Wellington, New Zealand scientist said that Dunedin's "house of horrors," the Forsyth Barr Stadium, "will continue to haunt visiting goalkickers as long as it remains under a roof," according to Mark Geenty of DOMINION POST. Scientist Brian Wilkins, who has written books on how atmospheric conditions assist a cricket ball to swing, said that it is no coincidence that New Zealand's only covered rugby stadium causes nightmares for some of the best kickers. He said that the lack of air turbulence under the Forsyth Barr Stadium roof "means any ball hit slightly off centre will deviate" farther than it would outside. Wilkins said that it relates to the lateral Magnus/Robins force, which "makes any spun ball curve when the air flowing around it leaves the surface earlier on one side than on the other." Wilkins said, "It's the smooth non-turbulent air [under the roof] which accentuates all these phenomena. It's only got to be a very slight rotation for it to take off and develop into a big curve" (DOMINION POST, 9/18). In Wellington, Richard Knowler noted that a top stadium administrator said that goal-kicking woes "had nothing to with the enclosed Forsyth Barr Stadium's mysterious breeze." Stadium CEO David Davies said that "it was too simplistic to blame the covered stadium, which has gaps at the bottom and top" that encourage grass growth and allows hot air to escape. There is a suspicion these gaps also "create a breeze, which makes it difficult for goal kickers." Davies said, "In my view it was just two kickers who were just off their game" (DOMINION POST, 9/17).
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