By TRACEY ROXBURGH and MATTHEW MCKEW
Queenstown Rovers coach Jamie Whitmarsh is again bemoaning a lack of suitable training
facilities on the back of a 5-1 loss against Otago Uni in Dunedin.
But hope is on the horizon.
Last July Whitmarsh told Mountain Scene he was ‘‘frustrated’’ his senior men’s football side hadn’t been able to train properly for a month — three of those weeks were lost to surface flooding and a fourth due to broken lights.
A year on, Whitmarsh says the side’s ‘‘hardly trained in seven weeks’’ due to field unavailability, making it difficult for his team to be competitive.
‘‘The boys turn up for me week in, week out, and their commitment cannot be questioned, but they are the realities that we face every season.
‘‘When we get any sort of rain on [the pitch], you just can’t play on it, so the field gets closed … it’s fenced off.
‘‘Nine times out of 10 we’re not allowed to use it, and when we do get to use it, we just get a minimal amount of field.
‘‘It’s pretty pointless because you can’t do anything that resembles full-side football.’’
Whitmarsh says the field, dubbed 1A, needs a ‘‘proper drainage plan’’ and says he’s been in touch with City Hall, which suggests there’s a ‘‘renovation plan’’ in play for its assets.
Council’s sport and rec boss Simon Battrick says he’s on Whitmarsh’s team.
‘‘I totally agree … the sportsfields 1A and B are in dire need of a renovation and I believe that there is money set aside in the new 10-year plan to complete these in two years’ time.
‘‘One of the discussions I am having with my parks colleagues is how we can fast-track any monies to complete the works sooner, if possible.’’
While an all-weather turf at the Events Centre’s nearing completion, and will be available for football, futsal, touch rugby, bootcamps, hockey and the like, it won’t be in full play till this spring when it’s warm enough for lines to be handstitched and glued.
But Battrick reckons it’ll be good for ‘‘interim use’’ early next month, with expressions of interest from users to be called for before then so a booking schedule can be sorted.