Council’s grounds team starts pitch preparations for new season
Published: 10 Sep 2021 12:04pm
Work has begun on repairing a number of Wagga Wagga’s sportsgrounds in preparation for the start of the upcoming 2021/2022 cricket season.
This week, Wagga Wagga City Council’s Sportsground Team was out scarifying the turf pitches at the Wagga Cricket Ground in the CBD and Lake Albert Oval (next to Apex Park), and spraying rye grass out at Paramore Park and Rawlings Park.
The city’s sportsgrounds have not been used by sporting groups over the past month, with local competitions put on hold due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.
Council’s Sportsground Team Leader Brian Cattell said the uncertainty about how long the lockdown would last and whether competitions might resume had affected planning for ground preparations for summer sports.
“We need a minimum of six grounds with turf pitches for Wagga Cricket to start their season and, until now, we only had access to four; Wagga Cricket Ground, Lake Albert Oval, Rawlings Park and the Geoff Lawson Oval at Bolton Park,” he said.
“When we were in lockdown, some of the local sporting organisations were still planning to play some kind of finals series.
“However, it looks like that is unlikely to happen as community sport won't be permitted yet, even though the NSW Government has lifted the lockdown in the Riverina.
“Our focus now will be on finalising our maintenance schedule for the summer season and getting on with job of getting all the ovals ready.”
Over the colder months, the focus of the Sportsground Team is on maintaining the playing surface at the fields for the football competitions.
However, the wetter conditions the city has experienced this winter have taken their toll on ground conditions.
“The middle of the ovals can get quite torn up during football games, particularly the centre bounce in Aussie Rules games, when the ground is very wet, while the rest of the field can become pitted,” Mr Cattell said.
“We have to repair that as cricket needs a flat surface to play on, so we scarify cricket squares and clean them right out to remove the excess thatch and grass.
“Once we’ve done that, we put out fertiliser and top dress to level it all out and to encourage Couch grass to start growing. Then we give it a whole lot of water to encourage it to get moving so by the time the cricket season starts, hopefully they’ve got some grass to prepare a pitch.”
Council maintains 20 sportsgrounds across the city. You can learn more about each of them at wagga.nsw.gov.au/sportsgrounds