GROUP Three Rugby League's executive will seek a meeting with MIdCoast Council in an attempt to ensure clubs in this area have more say on whether grounds are closed due to wet weather.
This follows a council decision on Friday, May 6 to close the Wingham Sporting Complex and Old Bar Reserve. This resulted in two matches - Wingham/Port City and Old Bar/Taree City - being postponed.
Group Three chairman Wayne Bridge claims the call to shut the ground was made on Friday morning. The games were scheduled on Sunday, May 8.
"We then had two fine days,'' Mr Bridge said.
"I went to both grounds on Sunday. They were both a bit damp in one section. Otherwise they were right for play.
"Council needs to realise this just doesn't affect two clubs. It impacts on our entire competition.''
The group believes both Old Bar and Wingham clubs should have more say on whether their grounds are fit for play.
"Those clubs do the majority of the maintenance on fields,'' he pointed out.
"Both clubs have been rolling the fields to try and get some of the moisture out.
"Common sense says the clubs won't play on their fields in they're going to damage them, especially early in the season.''
Taree City leases the Jack Neal Oval from Taree Leagues and Sports Club so has the say as to whether games go ahead. The surface at Tuncurry's sand-based Harry Elliott Oval is rarely impacted by wet weather.
Mr Bridge said the group doesn't have the same problems with fields under the control of Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, where sports field coordinator Kerry Lewis is in constant contact with Group Three's chief executive Mal Drury regarding ground conditions. Two Group Three grounds, Port Regional Stadium and Lank Blain Complex at Wauchope, are under the Port council's control.
"We've never had any complaints from the (Macleay) Mustangs about Verge Street Oval. I assume it's maintained by Kempsey Council,'' Mr Bridge added.
Mr Bridge said if the weather forecasts are correct, we're in for a wet winter.
"Council needs to take that into consideration. We're not going to play on fields that aren't safe, but we need more flexibility so our competition can proceed,'' he said.
At the time of going to press Mr Bridge hadn't heard if a meeting had been arranged.
Did you know? Manning River Times online subscribers not only have 24/7 access to local and national news, sport, what's on and entertainment - they also have access to our print editions in digital format, with all the advertisements and classifieds at their fingertips.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.