Park in shape for finals
Porirua Park is in great form.
The ground, frequently described as the best playing surface in the region outside Westpac Stadium, is set to host Wellington Rugby League finals day this weekend.
Lynley Veale, team leader of Porirua City Council’s four ground staff, responsible for every sports field in the city, almost looks pained thinking about all the players ripping up his turf.
Endeavour Park, Cannons Creek Park and Ngatitoa Domain are just some of the other parks he and his crew look after. While the mild winter has been a bonus, ensuring very few closures, the hard work still has to be put in.
PCC’s leisure assets infrastructure officer John Callahan says an extensive programme of work goes in during the winter sports season and in the off-season.
‘‘ We’ve got sand carpets here [at Porirua Park] and at Endeavour, they’ve taken a while to bed in, but now we’re seeing the results. Nothing we do is in isolation and while we do give Mother Nature a boost, it’s leg work from guys like Lynley that gets it to what you see now.’’
From Rugby World Cup training sessions to Beard Trophy matches, Phoenix and Lions’ preseason fixtures, Porirua Park is in demand. Parks supervisor Geoff Chevis says they won’t turn anyone away.
‘‘ We would rather people use it, that’s what it’s for. Getting them to the condition that you see them in now is a real team effort and we know what a prime asset it is for the city.’’
Porirua and Endeavour parks compare favourably with many grounds in Wellington and the Hutt Valley, plenty of which are becoming mud baths.
Ross Bond, the coach of Northern United’s premier side, says Porirua Park is a fantastic ground.
‘‘It really contributes to the way we play, definitely the best surface outside the stadium. There’s virtually no mud in the changing rooms.’’
Endeavour Park saw 59 senior football games on No 1 and 57 on No 2 last season, the most utilised surface in the region for the sport. Drains were replaced several years ago and it was upgraded before this season. Western Suburbs’ first team coach Lloyd O’Keefe says Endeavour always holds up well.
‘‘Teams love coming out to play us because they know Endeavour is pristine, head and shoulders above any other ground we play on regularly.
‘‘It’s a credit to the parks guys at the council, they do an amazing job.’’
Pristine turf: City Council parks staff members Lynley Veale and Geoff Chevis have a mission to make Porirua’s sportsgrounds look their best.