Courtesy of Port News – Paul Jobber
The sight of two ducks swimming on field one at Regional Stadium was the perfect image to sum up the washed out 2021 NSW Junior State Cup northern conference event in Port Macquarie.
Coincidentally, the last time the Junior State Cup was washed out was on the exact same weekend in February.
“There have been two events since 1976 that have been washed out. One was then and the second one obviously was this year.”
When more than 200 millimeters of rain was dumped on Port Macquarie over Friday night, Saturday and Sunday, organisers had still tried their best to invent a way to complete the tournament.
But with the added strain of keeping within COVID-safe health protocols, it simply wasn’t possible.
“We lost Saturday and then we would have had to have lost the quarter-finals and played later in the Sunday to get the tournament completed,” Mr Russell said.
“Throughout the morning on Saturday the rain just didn’t ease up and in fact, it got heavier.
“By the time we got to 10.45am (Saturday) the localised flooding had become worse and the scenario of losing six or seven fields had grown to 10 fields if we played on them for only two or three games.
“We were then faced with losing all of Saturday and still had 340-plus games to get through just to get to the finals series.”
The possibility of playing 10-minute games entered organisers’ heads, but by maintaining COVID-health protocols it became an impossibility to get all games in.
“We just didn’t have enough time, space, or fields to complete the job so it became obvious pretty quickly we were stuffed,” Mr Russell said.
When a further 125 millimeters of rain fell on Sunday, the decision to cancel the tournament had been vindicated.
“I went for a drive out to Tuffins Lane at 3.30pm on Sunday and the water was over the road – it wasn’t over the fields … it was over the road,” Mr Russell said.
The venue’s inability to cope with the consistent downpour had raised a question or two about the drainage at Regional Stadium.
“I’ve never seen the stadium and field one in as poor of a condition as it was,” he said.
“Council might have a problem with their drainage system because even last year you were out the back in atrocious conditions and came into field one and the stadium and they were in fantastic condition.
“But on Sunday I saw two ducks on a pond that had formed on field one.
“I’ve been coming here for 32 years and never seen that; I’ve never seen a pool of water that covered three-quarters of the field.”
Mr Russell said they didn’t stand to suffer any financial hits from the two days of washed-out action, but their main disappointment was with the children.
“The kids are the ones who miss out and that’s the disappointing part of it,” he said.