Eastern Hill Cricket Club cops full brunt of flooding
Eastern Hill Cricket Club faces one of the biggest challenges in its 70-year history after floodwater ravaged its Kings Park facility late last week.
With both of its playing surfaces at the precinct still completely submerged with water, the club finds itself playing a nervous waiting game as it waits for floodwater to recede enough to fully examine the damage.
But with the Seymour District Cricket Association season now upon us, the expectation is that the Eagles’ home ground will be out of action for a period of time as it begins what is set to be a Herculean clean-up effort.
The man tasked with heading the recovery process, Eastern Hill Cricket Club president Mark White, gave an update on the situation.
“Down at Kings Park, you still can’t get back into the precinct. It sits in a bit of a trough so it is well underwater,” he said.
“We did have someone enter the rooms on Sunday to take same photos for me, and basically there was eight inches of water right throughout the clubrooms.
“The kitchen, behind the bar, the carpet — it all has to be torn up, so we know there is going to be quite a bit of damage.
“The ground is also completely waterlogged and the pitch will be in a lot of strife, but we still are yet to fully assess the damage and begin formulating a clean-up plan.”
As the wild weather set in last Wednesday and Thursday, White explained the lengths the club went to prepare for the possibility of flooding.
“In the lead-up we went into the rooms and lifted a lot of our valuables up on to tables,” he said.
“Our curtains were lifted and tied up, drawers in the kitchen were emptied, but all of that still doesn’t stop water coming in and affecting the carpets and woodwork.
“The biggest worries are the structural integrity of the building and the interior of it as well, that is going to be the problem.”
As the club now prepares to begin its clean-up effort, a return to the field seems a world away as it firstly looks to ensure the Kings Park facility can return to a usable state.
This is something White expressed to the SDCA as it began to map out a plan of what the early parts of the season may look like.
“I have been in contact with the SDCA and told them it would be a miracle if we got up for this weekend due to the state of the facilities,” he said.
“The covers are still on the pitches themselves, so we won’t actually know the damage to the wicket until we can take them off.
“The pitch needs sun on it to dry out, so it will be at least be a couple of weeks before we can try play some cricket at Kings Park.
“So we’ve decided that they’ll try and rearrange our games to begin with. Our home games we’ll play away and we will swap over with the other clubs later in the year when we are back up and going.”
But while the damage has been devastating to the cricket club, White said his heart was bleeding for all those homes and businesses in town that felt the complete wrath of the flooding.
“Obviously we are just a sporting club and there are bigger things to worry about, like people’s homes and businesses, so to us that is a lot more important,” White said.
“But in saying that, we know sport brings people together, so it is important that we get cricket back up and running as soon as we can.”