Covers are off
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
PLAYING cricket on a turf wicket will no longer be a privilege that only first grade cricketers will enjoy.
Over the past three seasons, some second grade cricketers have been able to play on turf at the Richardson Park grounds but the addition of a new turf wicket Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Park No. 1 oval will expand the privilege to more cricketers in the area.
The president of the Coffs Harbour and District Cricket Association, Ken Robinson, is ecstatic that the facilities for cricketers in the area are being expanded.
"Obviously the more games we play on turf, the better it is for our competition," he said.
"Were also looking at using the turf wicket at High Street in Woolgoolga and what that means is that I'm hopeful all first and second grade matches will be played on turf this year."
The turf square on the No. 1 oval next to the International Stadium is large enough to cater for four cricket pitches to be rotated throughout the year.
There are plans to install a five wicket square on the No. 2 oval adjacent.
The increased amount of turf facilities now has the association planning for cricket that not only benefits local players but outside teams as well.
"We can start to look at playing a lot representative cricket here and once the second wicket is in use, we'll use this as our rep centre," Robinson added.
"Eventually we'll be able to hold carnivals such as age titles, schoolboy and schoolgirl titles like the CHS and further on, maybe a Country Week type carnival."
The cost of the turf square which is having a settling-in period at the moment was $33,000 but the hard work of a few prominent cricket people in the area helped to alleviate the cost somewhat.
Manager of the council's Sports Unit, Ben Payne, said that the local association should make sure that special thanks be given to one person in particular.
"We were very lucky that Arthur Smart applied for a Sport and Recreation grant to contribute to the development of a turf wicket square," he said.