UPPER Hunter MP Michael Johnsen believes cricket enthusiasts will be “bowled over” when they notice changes at the Scone Cricket Club.
The organisation’s nets and pitches are due to be refurbished, thanks to a $172,500 contribution from the NSW Government.
Mr Johnsen said the nets and pitch at Sheppard Oval would be replaced to meet required standards, while new pitches would be installed at Saunders and McNabb ovals.
“As part of the project, new netting material will be installed at the club to allow for greater flexibility and longevity of the equipment, which means our local teams can really enjoy the use of these fields,” he added.
“Once the works are completed, the Scone Cricket Club could become a local training hub in the region, as well as host competitions for the Hunter Valley, Central North and Cricket NSW.
“I am thrilled the government has been able to deliver this and to partner with Upper Hunter Shire Council in delivering these new nets and pitches to support this great local club.
“This project is one of 22 across NSW, funded through the latest round of the Clubgrants category 3 Infrastructure Grants program.
“More than $50 million in funding is being provided during this current term of government for projects across sport and recreation, emergency preparedness, and arts and culture.”
Upper Hunter Shire mayor Wayne Bedggood said council was very grateful to the state government for the substantial funding, which allows council to upgrade ageing and deteriorating sporting infrastructure.
“With an increased number of nets and improved facilities, more of our young people will be able to train daily in Bill Rose Sports Complex,” Cr Bedggood said.
Scone Junior Cricket Club secretary Brett Hails said the contribution would help the sport at all age levels.
“It will encourage young and old, females and males, to come back to cricket to play in a state-of-the-art set of nets,” Mr Hails said.
“These nets are being designed by Cricket NSW and there will be about six in total - it will be a positive impact for the game.”
Scone Junior Cricket Club president Darren Crowther echoed Hails’ sentiments.
“The nets are fantastic for this area,” he said.
“During the cricket season, we have a lot of people who come into town.
“We see this as a hub for the Hunter Valley, so we are very excited for these state-of-the-art facilities and nets to hopefully be facilitated in the next few months.”
Mr Johnsen said the grants were funded by a contribution from the state’s registered clubs to reinvest profits from gaming machines back into community projects.
“The government is pleased to provide this funding to help more people experience the many benefits of taking part in our local sport and leisure activities including improved fitness and well-being and greater social interaction,” he added.
The program was improved in 2017 to give community organisations more chances to apply for a wider range of projects.
New funding ranges have encouraged more diverse projects, with a streamlined application process that cuts red tape and allows for faster assessment.