Harwood becomes SCG of Lower River cricket
By JURIS GRANEY
HARWOOD's 'field of dreams' is about to be transformed into one of the most iconic sports grounds on the North Coast.
Nestled between cane fields and the Harwood Sugar Mill, the ground has always had the potential to become stunning, but thanks to a concerted push by the local cricket club to update the ground, and $9000 from the Lower Clarence Sports Council, that will soon be a reality.
Featuring a heritage-listed grandstand plucked straight from yesteryear, the ground's transformation is expected to start within the next couple of weeks.
Games are expected to be played on the newly-laid turf wicket by the start of the next cricket season.
Harwood Cricket Club stalwart Tim McMahon said a lot of hard work had gone into planning the revamp, with a dedicated committee established six months ago to make sure it got off the ground.
The revamp will also include the construction of a traditional white picket fence, an amenities block as well as storage sheds for machinery used in rolling and preparing the turf wicket.
And the news has also pleased the Lower Clarence Cricket Association's president Matt Ardrey, with the ground set to become the only dedicated cricket ground in the Lower Clarence.
The LCCA ceased using the majestic Maclean Showground two years ago because it was also used by many other sporting associations including the Lower Clarence Magpies, pony club and the annual Maclean Rodeo.
And with Barry Watts Oval also used by the local soccer club and Yamba Oval used by the Yamba Buccanneers, Harwood has come as a blessing in disguise.
According to Mr McMahon, since the advent of Milo junior cricket, numbers of youngsters picking up the bat and ball had increased dramatically.
Now with the Harwood Cricket Ground to sport a turf wicket, it is hoped the calibre of the al- ready strong young players will increase.
"It is such a unique setting, it is privately owned and will be the only purpose-built cricket ground in the area, Mr McMahon said.
Mr Ardrey said the ground could serve as another turf ground and support another team.