Weekend sport cancelled as sports grounds waterlogged

Bad weather has also caused havoc for netballers, with the Inner West Netball Association forced to cancel 183 games in its opening round last month.

The association’s secretary Anne Tait said more games had been cancelled since then because grass courts had been closed by the local council, “which means all our five-to-nine year olds miss out on playing”.

“Whilst most of our courts are asphalt we still have to be careful when it rains as they can become slippery and player and umpire safety is paramount,” she said.

Tait said cancelling games due to bad weather played havoc with the competition and disappointed kids “because they just want to play”.

“In addition, whilst we try to maintain relatively reasonable fees, parents are more mindful of the cost impact of paying seasonal fees and then not getting value for money,” she said.


Tait said not everyone was understanding when volunteer officials made the tough decision to call off games: “Councils are more prone to close grass courts than they were in the past, which is understandable due to maintenance costs.”

A Football NSW spokesman said councils closed sports fields with a view to looking after grounds for the whole season.

“We simply cannot afford to shred the grounds in April and expect to have playable surfaces in August,” he said.

But the pressure on sports fields meant it was difficult to reschedule matches on weekends.

“Mid-week games are hard to manage because there aren’t enough lit grounds to be able to catch up every game mid-week, and when you do have mid-week games it means other teams can’t train,” he said.


He said half of all football grounds did not have drainage, while climate change put pressure on facilities because of the increased likelihood of hot, dry weather and severe storms.

“This is why synthetic fields are part of the solution,” he said. “These fields can accommodate some games when grass fields wash out, but also allow games to be caught up through the year.”

More than 300 AFL NSW games have been cancelled or postponed due to wet weather in Sydney this year, with round five scheduled for this weekend.

“Extended rain events can be challenging to community Australian football clubs in Sydney eager to take to the field,” an AFL NSW/ACT spokesman said.

Hall said unplayable grounds had forced sporting codes to play additional games early in the season or ask councils to let them play later in the year, “but this can be challenging with the transition to summer sports and the need for remedial works for fields”.

Sport NSW’s 2022 Playing Catch Up Report found there was a “sports facilities crisis”, with sports failing to find enough space to run their competitions.

“Some children who are keen to take part in sport are being turned away because of a lack of facilities,” the report said. “Other families face long trips to simply compete in their chosen activity.”

Local councils say they close sports grounds to preserve playing surfaces and prevent injuries, but sporting officials say poor maintenance, overused facilities and aversion to risk are also to blame.

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