Wendi Henderson, Wellington City Council’s Parks, Sport and Recreation Operations Manager, says rain has fallen on about nine out of 14 days this month (following 17 wet days in May) – and the city’s grass sportsfields have not had a chance to drain and dry out.
This week’s heavy rain and a lack of wind has ended any hope the fields will recover in time for this weekend’s sport – so ground closures are likely, she says.
Luckily the Council’s multi-million dollar investment in artificial sportsfields in the past decade means the sports weekend will not be a washout. “We have the ground capacity to keep as many matches being played as possible – but unfortunately there’ll still have to be restrictions or closures otherwise the fields will not last through until the end of August.
“We’re encouraging codes to play at off-peak times to get games played and maximise the artificials as much as they can,” says Wendi. Ultimately we want as many games played as possible - we’re all working towards the same outcome.”
Wendi says it has been many years since she can remember sportsfields being this wet so early in the winter. “Our drainage systems and sand-based fields are far better than in days of yore. Legend has it that some unfortunate players would sink below the surface of some particularly boggy grounds, never to be seen again – but that danger has passed due to ongoing investment.
“Our priority these days is to keep grass surfaces intact and playable – and hopefully this wet start to June is not a sign of things to come for the rest of winter.”