Pascoe Cup coaches have slammed Young’s “rock-hard” pitch after Gus Smith Oval was the scene of a devastating injury on Sunday.
Tolland’s leading goal scorer Brett Wendt tore his hamstring when he sped onto the cricket pitch in the middle of the ground, and Wolves co-coach Chris Ayton believes the injury was a direct result of the hard turf.
“It’s not good from a safety point of view,” Ayton said.
“I’m certainly not impressed.”
“Forest Hill Oval had a cricket pitch during the winter but at least they would let the grass come through.
“But you could play first-class cricket on Young’s pitch tomorrow if you wanted to.”
Wendt was less scathing of the ground’s condition, but his coach was not alone in his assessment of the hardened surface, Junee coach Lincoln Weir among those joining the chorus of criticism.
“We had Dean Scupin dislodge his collarbone there and the first thing the ambulance officer asked was about the hardness of the ground, saying it would not dislodge unless the ground was extremely firm,” Weir said.
“The whole ground was a problem, with lots of dead patches and players coming off with cuts and scratches.
“A lot of our guys were complaining about the hardness of the pitch.”
Cootamundra co-coach Adam McPhail also thought the unforgiving surface posed a safety concern.
“The worst part is definitely the cricket pitch in the middle,” he said.
“It’s very hard out there and it knocked a few of our boys around.”
Young president Paul Cameron said that while no complaints had been directed his way, the club was aware of the hardness of the field and was exploring a potential move to Hall Brothers Oval for next season.
“It’s certainly our aim to secure a field without a cricket pitch in the middle,” he said.
Cameron added the club was doing everything it could to ensure player safety in the meantime.
“Council waters the field every week and looks after it,” he said.
“Player safety is the utmost concern and we’re happy to do what we can to accommodate everyone.
“If people would like to have a chat with us about it, they’re more than welcome to contact us.”
Another option on the table is moving games across to the adjacent field at Gus Smith Oval, which does not feature a cricket pitch.
But its illogical location away from parking would require fans to make a small trek to each game, according to the club.