Youths vandalise cricket pitch
YOUTHS have vandalised the McKittrick Park cricket pitch twice over the weekend, with the season less than two weeks away.
On Saturday, 12 males between the ages of 15 and 18 were witnessed climbing the fence and sliding around the pitch after the recent wet weather, causing thousands of dollars damage.
Clarence Valley Cricket Association (CVCA) president Jeff Hackett said the vandalism was very disappointing.
“It has really set things back for us,” he said.
“We can't understand why they would do it when they knew it was a cricket pitch.
“It's not a good situation to start the season.”
When Mr Hackett approached the youths, they claimed to not know it was a cricket pitch.
“They are old enough to know better,” he said.
The damage has resulted in a two-week setback for Clarence Valley cricket clubs, with restoration work already under way.
Grafton wicket curator Tony Blanch has started work on fixing the ground and expects the restoration to take all week.
“It wastes a lot of unnecessary time and money,” he said.
Restoring the damaged grounds will cost an estimated $2000 to $3000, with the money coming out of the CVCA's pocket.
“The money could have been spent on resources for the clubs and now we have to foot the bill for this,” Mr Hackett said.
South Grafton's McKittrick Park is the main playing ground during the season starting on October 9.
The pitch was last pressed by the Clarence Valley Council on Thursday with the pre-season preparation of the field taking six weeks prior to fertilising and growing the grass.
“We're doing our utmost to help Tony in getting the wicket playable,” Mr Hackett said.
Players hope to use the ground by the first Saturday's match but they will have to work with what is available.
“This has really put us behind the eight ball,” Mr Hackett said.
“We had similar problems two years ago with vandalism, but otherwise we have been lucky.”
Duty Officer Inspector Gillett said the damage caused was a substantial amount.
Inquiries are continuing into identifying the offenders.