Rugby moved off Oakes Oval

By STEVE SPINKS

THE Far North Coast Rugby Union is crying foul on the weather that is after Lismore City Council closed a waterlogged Oakes Oval yesterday, forcing the transfer of the local grand finals to Lismore Rugby Park today.

FNCRU board member Graham Cook said the decision would hit the union in the back pocket.

"We're very disappointed, but not surprised," Cook said. "The ground was closed due to concern over the cricket pitch, and it is wet.

"Going to Lismore Rugby Park will make a huge difference to us. It will halve our numbers."

More than 1800 people attended the grand finals at Oakes Oval last year.

There was further disappointment that a rugby league minor semi-final was held at the ground two weeks ago despite more rain having fallen before that match.

The council's parks and garden co-ordinator Martin Soutar said the situation was different.

"There's not a double standard," he said.

"Unfortunately we have to look at the ground as a week-by-week proposition. We also had to take into consideration that we've now had three weeks of rain, so the circumstances are different.

"We also have to consider the next four weeks which will see soccer grand finals and the Aboriginal rugby league knockout carnival."

Games at Lismore Rugby Park will start from 10.45am with third grade.

Soccer grand finals scheduled for Oakes Oval last night were postponed, as was baseball at Albert Park.

Meanwhile, the council advised that fields open for action this weekend are Crozier Field, Riverview Park, Hepburn Park, Mortimer Oval, Nesbitt Park, Balzer Park and Coronation Park.

All Albert Park fields, Neilsen Park and Richards Oval may be used at the hirer's discretion today. Blair Oval is the only other field closed.



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