You could hear a collective sigh of relief when sporting organisers were given the green light to go ahead with fixtures for the 2022 season following 18 months of disruptions due to COVID-19.
Little did they realise rain was this year going to be their Achilles heel.
Rugby league and union organisers will have to move games and times for footy matches played on Harry Elliot Oval, Tuncurry after MidCoast Council was forced to stop pumping water from the flooded western field.
Preparing for last Saturday's matches (July 15) council spent much of Friday ridding the oval of water.
"We were pumping with the hope that it was pooling," MidCoast Council community spaces executive manager, Dan Aldridge said.
When council workers left the site on Friday, the ground was free of water.
It had returned on Saturday.
With little respite from the rain, and more than 300mm tumbling into the rain gauge last Wednesday, July 13, the ground has become saturated raising the watertable.
It (watertable) has never been this high and never impacted Harry Elliot Oval since it was built in the early 1990s.- MidCoast Council community spaces executive manager, Dan Aldridge
"It (watertable) has never been this high and never impacted Harry Elliot Oval since it was built in the early 1990s," Mr Aldridge said.
"Last week's rain did the damage."
Built about 250mm below its eastern neighbour was another suspected cause for the saturated (west) oval which traditionally hosts matches for mod footy, junior 10-12-year-old rugby league players.
"We have been working with sports organisations to come up with alternative draws and making fields in Coopernook and Colongolook available, and moving to fields which are more resilient."
Group three junior rugby league president, Warren Blissett admitted the remainder of the season would be a juggling act with just one ground now available.
"(Junior) league is played in the morning from 9am until 12, but could go to 2pm, and union starts at 9am," he said.
"This makes it a challenge."
While catch-up games could be played mid-week Mr Blissett said organisers are conscious of busy parents, youngsters playing during the week on top of training and the results this could have on both senior union and league matches.
"It impacts on different sports in different ways.
"We are at the mercy of the weather; all games have been impacted.
"Fingers crossed, we have snuck through a weekend of catch-up from round one.
"The clubs have done a fine job on catch-up.
"And, it is not the fault of council; they have done all they can."
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