Muddy ovals an issue for football clubs

BALLARAT’S junior football ovals are turning to mud pits and Ballarat City Council is racing against the clock to have them ready for play.

Lake Wendouree footballers play on a muddy oval. Under-16.5 reserves junior match Lake Wendouree Vs North Ballarat.

Lake Wendouree footballers play on a muddy oval. Under-16.5 reserves junior match Lake Wendouree Vs North Ballarat.

A weekend of heavy rain wreaked havoc on many grounds across Ballarat, with Lake Wendouree’s secondary oval among the worst in the region.

The Ballarat Football League clash between North Ballarat and the Lakers was scheduled to be played at Northern Oval number two on Sunday, but had to be moved due to the surface being unplayable.

As a result, the Lakers’ oval soon turned to mud, even though it was just the first time the oval had been used all year.

Lake Wendouree junior co-ordinator Neil McKechnie said it was a sad state of affairs in Ballarat at the moment.

“It’s not just us, it’s North Ballarat, it’s everyone,” he said.

“We’ve got nowhere to move it to so we’re just going to have to put up with the mud.”

It was agreed the match be moved earlier in the week, before 14 millimetres of rain fell over the weekend.

North Ballarat junior co-ordinator Stuart McKee said it was unfortunate the Lakers’ oval had been torn up, but said his club’s oval was simply unplayable.

Seven games were played on the oval on Sunday.

“I’m also feeling a bit guilty, because it looked like a train wreck by the end of the day,” he said.

“The difference between the condition of it at the start of the day compared to the end was amazing.”

Ballarat Football League operations manager Aaron Nunn said council was doing its utmost to have the grounds in good order, but it faced the same situation in Ballarat every year.

“Most grounds are in a similar situation, so there’s not a lot we can do,” he said.

“Just because they’re muddy doesn’t mean they are unsafe.”

City of Ballarat city infrastructure general manager said council carried out weekly maintenance of all grounds

and that would continue this week.

“Over the past 18 months, the City of Ballarat has consulted with all Ballarat Football League clubs to create a five-year plan for the redevelopment of sports grounds in the municipality,” he said.

“As part of this program, resurfacing and irrigation works have already been completed at Russell Square this year.”

A resurfacing of the Lakers’ main oval is due to start in about one month, while there will also be minor grass works carried out at Learmonth.

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