South Gippsland Shire councillor Bob Newton, left, cuts the ribbon at the new Korumburra turf wicket area with Korumburra Cricket Club secretary/treasurer Alan Summerfield, centre, and president Darren Scott. Right: Ray Cruickshank rolls out a perfect looking pitch at Korumburra before the inaugural match on Saturday.
THE Korumburra Cricket Club has rolled out its first turf wicket at the Korumburra Recreation Reserve, and although the result of Saturday’s inaugural match didn’t go to plan, the new deck itself was a winner.
“It went, really, really well. It was just the wrong result,” club secretary/treasurer Alan Summerfield said after Fish Creek-Tarwin caused an upset in A Grade Division 2.
The Cobras didn’t blame the pitch, though.
“None of the players complained about the pitch and none of them could blame the pitch for their dismissals.
“It had good, even bounce – the same all day. It might have been a touch slow to use a cricket term, but there were certainly no demons in it.”
Club president Darren Scott said there were a few nervous moments on Thursday when Korumburra received an unexpected downpour.
“It looks like it’s come up well, though,” he said on Saturday morning at the official opening of the project, which involves a five pitch wicket area and a new synthetic deck that runs alongside the square.
Scott said all players will be involved in pitch maintenance and preparations.
“We’ll share it around because we’re all going to use it. We don’t want to leave it up to just one, two or three people.”
Ray Cruickshank is in charge of rolling the pitches and mowing the outfield.
The $120,000 project also involved the rotation of the pitch so batsmen aren’t looking into the sun late in the afternoon.
“That was one of our main aims,” Scott said.
“It’s not fun facing big fast bowlers with the sun in your eyes!”
The realignment also fits in with Korumburra City’s use of the ground during the winter soccer season. There’s plenty of room on either side of the wicket area for full size soccer pitches.
To construct the new wicket area, the club received $66,000 from the State Government’s Minor Facilities program and $17,500 from the South Gippsland Shire Council. The club raised the $17,000 balance.
It received a separate $3000 shire community grant for a new equipment shed, and a further $10,000 from the council for equipment including a roller and covers. The club funded the balance for the equipment.
“It just shows what you can do when you set your mind to it,” Summerfield said.
“We’re fortunate to have Wes Olden whose efforts through raising cattle gave us the base to start from.
“He raised $20,000 specifically for the turf project which we used to leverage other grants.”
Summerfield said the project did have its hurdles, but persistence paid off.
“It was originally knocked back because it would have relied on town water, so we applied for a grant through South Gippsland Water for water storage and we were successful.
“There’s a lot of work still to go. We’d like to get the camber right on the ground, and it will need top dressing, but it’s a great start,” he said.