Envy of other cricket clubs

Rutherglen United Cricket Club will be the envy of other cricket clubs with construction well advanced of an approximate 40m x 15m $180,000 building for training purposes the whole year round.

The big project will see the demolition of the three, 30-year-old old open cricket nets and construction of four new cricket practice pitches in the north-east corner of Barkly Park.

Being constructed by Focus Engineering Corowa and managed by Indigo Shire Council, the facility is roofed which will provide an all-weather facility for cricket enthusiasts providing cover in wet weather as well as the heat of summer.

Exterior net fencing as well as soft net roof netting will mean no more escapee balls when cricketers hit a ‘six’ in the practice nets.

The design of the facility, with retractable internal dividing nets for each of the four lanes also means that its use as a multi purpose training function of the facility will be possible for other sporting groups, including the club’s netballers.

“It has been a really long project, led by Anne Maree Somerville. She did a lot of work and put in a very good submission for the project,” club secretary for the past 12 years and on the committee since he was 18, 44-year-old Wayne Cooper told The Free Press.

“On a hot day or a rainy day, we won’t have to cancel training because it will all be undercover.

“It is a state-of-the-art training facility that we don’t really have in the region. In fact, I think it’s one of only two in Australia – the other one in Darwin.

“I know the club is really excited and it is great for our small town. It also partners up with the new lighting that was installed using a country football and netball grant.”

Regional cricket development officer Rohan Larkin, who took charge of training last Wednesday, was full of praise about the new facility.

“It blows you away – that’s my first impression,” the 52-year-old 16-gamer with Victoria from 1995 to 1997 and hall of famer in Shepparton cricket, said.

“It’s an awesome facility for a little club and town this size. I haven’t seen one like it.”

The master plan for Barkly Park identifies the cricket net upgrade a key priority for the site. This project is being funded by $20,000 from Rutherglen United Cricket Club, $30,000 from Indigo Shire Council, $100,000 from Sport and Recreation Victoria, Cricket Victoria and Cricket Australia, an additional grant of $30,000 from Cricket Victoria and $14,700 in-kind contributions.

Covid-19 has delayed project completion. But the brilliant new facility is looking magnificent and expected to be completed before the end of this cricket season.