Supa Oldies kick $300k funding goal
SOCCER: A major State Government funding grant will help Supa Oldies Soccer finally realise a goal more than a decade in the making.
Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis announced more than $300,000 in state funding, which will be combined with $4,800 of local government funding and more than $20,000 raised by the Grafton Supa Oldies Soccer committee to erect new lights at the Rushforth Park complex.
The lights work, which also includes upgrading the current lights on 'Field 1', will allow the competition to host more games on a Thursday night, something they have desperately needed in recent seasons.
"We have been at capacity numbers in recent seasons, and this new lighting which will effectively open a whole new field for games, will allow us to welcome an extra eight teams for our summer competition,” Supa Oldies secretary Tina Vitolins said.
"It is great because our competition is all-inclusive. We cater for people of all-ages, all nationalities and people of lower socio-economic status.”
Vitolins said the organisation had been wanting to upgrade the lighting for a number of years, but didn't push hard until they had saved up their own contribution.
"We have been saving madly for a number of years just to get a substantial amount,” she said.
The lighting will not only benefit the Supa Oldies Soccer competition, but is also expected to support all clubs, including Grafton United who will be making a renewed push at the North Coast Football Premier League competition in 2018.
The works are also expected to coincide with a power upgrade funded partially by the Federal Government to ensure the lights will not drain the grid.
Clarence Valley Council open spaces coordinator Dave Sutton said he expected the works to begin in June, 2018.
"I think that it is about time soccer got a fair go,” Vitolins said.
Cricket set to lose out in Rushforth upgrade
WHILE the plan for new lights at Rushforth Park will be a major benefit for local soccer clubs, one sport that is set to miss out because of the upgrade is cricket.
With the placement of the new light poles, the Clarence River Cricket Association and Clarence River Junior Cricket Association will no longer be able to use the Rushforth Park 1 cricket field on the eastern side of the complex.
Clarence Valley Council open spaces coordinator Dave Sutton said council had met with delegates from both associations earlier this week to discuss the changes.
"We had a meeting with the vice-president of the seniors and the president of the juniors,” he said.
"As the plan stands right now, the wicket as it is currently would not be able to be played on,” Sutton said. "As it stands there are two wickets at the complex and only the front one had bookings for this season. Instead now they will just use the back wicket.”
CRCA vice-president Andrew McLachlan raised concerns with council that while it worked for the moment, with the association only having two grades, there is an expectation it will return to three grades and more matches for the 2018/19 season.
Sutton said council, along with the associations, will be investigating ways to better utilise and configure current grounds as a solution to the problem.