North Otago Netball president Sonya Macdonald is praying for good weather tomorrow.
Rain has majorly disrupted this year’s North Otago Netball season, which kicked off for premier teams on May 22.
Rain the following weekend, when all other grades were set to start, forced the first cancellation of junior and senior games.
Just one other round has been played since then, with a break for Queen’s Birthday weekend and rain forcing the cancellation of the past two weekends of netball.
It had been “frustrating for everyone”, Macdonald said.
“We all want to be out there playing the game that we love – it’s so frustrating that we are dictated by the weather.”
With some teams travelling to Oamaru from as far away as Twizel, the North Otago Netball committee had to make the call to cancel early on a Saturday, she said.
It was sometimes possible the courts could be playable for seniors by the afternoon, but Macdonald said the committee had to decide “based on what’s in front of us at that time for everyone’s safety”.
“It is a tough call.”
The committee had considered trying to play games in several different indoor facilities in the district, but many were booked on Saturdays for other community activities and it would be logistically challenging for a lot of people, Macdonald said.
The main issue preventing games from going ahead outdoors was the surface of the Taward St courts.
As well as it degrading over time, there had been ongoing problems with a chemical in the surface, which was laid about 12 years ago.
The committee was told the diesel-like chemical that made the courts slippery when wet would wear off over time.
But it had not.
“So whenever we get rain like that, our court surface just becomes so slippery that it’s such a hazard.”
Resurfacing the courts, and upgrading the drainage system, would cost upwards of $350,000.
“Although the association does have some money set aside, we as a centre, and for netball going forward, would rather invest that money into an indoor stadium that’s going to last 30 more years, instead of resealing and still having the same issues.”
This week’s confirmation of the council’s commitment of up to $10 million for an indoor sport and event centre in Oamaru was “really exciting” news.
“Not even from a netball point of view. Yes, it’s fantastic that the netball would be moved indoors, but just from a community point of view, it just opens up so many opportunities.
“It’s not just sport – and I hope the people who aren’t involved in sports realise that it’s not just a sports centre – it’s actually a community centre that could be used for so many different things and would benefit so many people.”
This year’s netball season would still wrap up on August 28.
Macdonald was looking forward to the season kicking back in tomorrow, weather permitting, for the junior goalathon and the Georgie Salter Memorial Day.
“It would be really nice to have a full Saturday of netball, with everyone there, everyone dressed up and celebrating in [Salter’s] memory.”