MUDDY WATERS: Newcastle City Council says it will not disclose whether it has fined Souths or Wests for damage to sports fields this month. Picture: Simone De PeakNewcastle City Council will introduce an “assessment form” to help sports clubs decide whether to play on wetfields after damage to Townson and Harker ovals 10 days ago.
Both grounds remained closed for repairs on Tuesday, and the council will decide later in the week whether they reopen this weekend.
Souths played five games at Townson Oval on June 18, including oneafter first grade had slogged through a downpour that left parts of the fieldunder water.
Wests played at Harker Oval on the same day.
Both fields have cricket pitches in the middle, and both are boggy and cut up.
The damage at Townson Oval forcedco-tenants Merewether Carlton to move their Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union derby against Wanderers to No.2 Sportsground last weekend.
The council has the option of charging sporting clubs for repairs if damage is deemed excessive, but the council told the Newcastle Herald on Tuesday that any such penalties would be confidential.
“Long-term damage to grounds will remain a matter between council and the licence holders,” a council spokesman said.
The controversy has encouraged the council to give clubs more guidance to “better manage” grounds.
“We have introduced a wet-weather assessment form to simplify the decision to close sportsgrounds on rainy days,” the spokesman said.
“The form helps determine the impact of wet weather on grass by looking at water present on the turf surface, cricket wicket and whether the ground is soft and pliable.It will assist both licensed users and council’s park services staff.
“Council will coordinate onsite workshops to provide clubs and associations with the skills to complete the new Wet Weather Sportsground Assessment Form during the next spell of wet weather.”
Council staff rolled the outfields at Townson Oval and Harker Oval on Tuesday. The spokesmansaid Harker “appears to be in better condition than it was last week”.
Merewether Carlton are due to play at Townson Oval on Saturday and Souths host Cessnock on Sunday. Wests host Kurri Kurri at Harker on Saturday.
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