FIELD OF DREAMS: Government back local cricket mecca
CRICKET: JJ Lawrence Field is primed to become a mecca for cricket in the Clarence Valley after the State Government and Clarence Valley Council joined forces to fund major upgrades to the facility.
Cricket clubs across the Valley will benefit from the upgrades that will include the replacement of two synthetic wickets and a restructure to the layout of the fields to allow more matches to be played simultaneously.
The repositioned wickets will allow for at least two senior games or three junior games to be played at the ground at the same time.
The redesign was the brainchild of Clarence River Junior Cricket Association president Brendan Palmer, who was present at the funding announcement with Clarence Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis and Clarence Valley Council Mayor Jim Simmons.
"We had a need for more facilities, not only for senior cricket but also for our junior players,” Palmer said. "In my eyes this ground was a vastly under-utilised facility and to think about what we could do to improve it.
"With ideas from a number of people, not just myself, we were able to come up with this ground restructure plan. Thankfully council have taken the idea on and are running with it.”
The State Government has pledged $16,050 to the project from the NSW ICC World T20 Cricket Legacy Fund which is being matched dollar-for-dollar by Clarence Valley Council.
Mr Gulaptis said the T20 Cricket Legacy Fund was especially designed to ensure clubs and players at the grass roots level benefitted from the 14 matches to be held across NSW for the ICC World T20 in 2020.
"Cricket is just one of the many sports which unites communities across the state and gives males and female players a fantastic chance to build skills and be part of a team,” Mr Gulaptis said.
"This fund has been established to inspire the next generation of cricketers by improving the quality and quantity of community facilities and will help attract world class cricket matches right across NSW.”
The new pitches, coupled with the use of the turf wicket on McKittrick Park will also allow the Valley to host more carnival-style events such as the Cricket NSW Country Championships.
"In the future I would love to see this become a bit of a mecca for cricket,” Palmer said.
"I would love to see two senior games, or three junior games all happening at the same time.
"This is not just good for cricket, but for the whole Clarence Valley community.”