We?re working on it, council assures cricketers

ALTHOUGH cricket was played on five council turf wickets last weekend, a change in the weather hindered the progress of the recently renovated wickets and contributed to some soft spots on one wicket, the Lismore City Council said yesterday.

On Monday, The Northern Star reported Southern Districts first-grade captain Richard Nind describing the situation with turf wickets in Lismore as 'a joke'.

Garry Hemsworth, the council's executive director of infrastructure services, said the renovations had been coming along very well but the damp and overcast weather had slowed up progress last week.

"Some good hot weather will put things back on track and we should see significant improvement within the next few weeks when all wickets should be in good playing condition," he said.

The renovation of the turf wickets began in late September. Works include de-thatching (removal of dead grass), top-dressing, fertilising, weeding and rolling.

"Cricket club captains have indicated that consistent bounce on the wickets has declined over at least the past five years," Mr Hemsworth said.

"This is an issue that concerns the council and a priority for the newly appointed curator, who has developed a works schedule for regular renovations and increased rolling.

"This will make all the difference in providing more consistent bounce so that the batsmen can start getting their eye in."

Mr Hemsworth said work was coming along well at Oakes Oval in preparation for the Pura Cup match in January.

"The first scheduled game is only a couple of weeks off and we are hoping for some good hot weather to get the grass moving again," he said.

"The outfield is coming together extremely well and we are aiming to have it running extremely fast for the Pura Cup match.

"Lismore City Council is looking forward to the challenge of improving all wickets for the benefit of players and clubs."

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