Rookie umpire’s goal of big stage
A REGIONAL football club says it won’t be able to survive into the coming season if it doesn’t get access to water soon.
Dodges Ferry Football Club has issued a plea for help to irrigate its ground following months of dry weather and limited supply of water.
Large patches of Shark Park on Old Forcett Rd have withered to brown, dead grass, with some sections reduced to just dirt.
The Sharks were told by Sorell Council no more funds had been budgeted to allow it to water the ground.
Club president David Bellars said the ground was in the worst condition he had seen, and a solution was needed desperately.
He is meeting Prosser MLC Jane Howlett to- morrow. Committee member in charge of the ground, Phil Hammer, said its current condition was “disastrous”.
“It’s as dry as we’ve ever seen it,” he said.
“If we aren’t able to use the ground and facilities, I dare say the club’s going to shut the door, there’s no other alternative.”
He said the club needed about $25,000 as a shortterm solution to water the ground for the next three months to get it ready to play on. He said the community thrived on the football club and home games were watched by some of the largest crowds in the league.
Players started preseason training last Thursday but had to be “selective” in the areas of the ground they used and have been forced to find an alternative venue for Tuesday nights.
“We don’t raise enough money through the bar if the players aren’t here,” Mr Hammer said.
There is no mains water in Dodges Ferry and the oval depends on tanks at the primary school next door.
Water to fill the school tanks has previously been sourced from a bore, which is now running dry and is too salty to grow grass.
The council then bought truckloads of water to service the oval, but that has proved too expensive to maintain. With school returning in a fortnight and needing the limited water supply for critical sanitary and emergency systems, it has left the club without a reliable water source.
Mr Hammer said the only way the ground would recover was with four or five days watering a week.
He said he had made more than 50 phone calls trying to find a solution.
Sorell Mayor Kerry Vincent said the council was working on options to help, but all of those were extremely expensive and more than what the council could afford.
Ms Howlett said the club was an important part of the community and she would work with it and the council to try to find a solution. It’s understood a number
rival clubs complained of about having to play at Dodges Ferry last season because of the ground’s condition.
Southern Football League president Madeleine Ogilvie said the SFL supported the club in its urgent call for help to get the oval back to playing standard.
“We will help by engaging in negotiations with government and council to help facilitate a positive outcome,” she said.
Since Dodges Ferry was established 40 years ago it has won seven senior and six reserves premierships.
The club fields four junior sides from under-8 to under-14 and is hoping to reestablish the Colts under-18 side this season.
Women’s club South East Suns are also scheduled to host two home games at the ground this year. Cricket is also played there. THERE’S no stumping Soniya Sharma’s passion for cricket.
The only female umpire in Tasmania, Mrs Sharma has had a love for cricket ever since watching the game from a young age in her home country of India, but she felt her opportunities to get involved were limited.
Since moving to Australia in 2015, she began searching for ways to connect with Tasmania’s cricket community, after her husband Vikrant began playing with Glenorchy Cricket Club.
Following a brief stint scoring matches in the Hurricanes Champions League, Mrs Sharma was encouraged to try her hand at umpiring by friends, and now she has dreams of taking her new-found passion to the biggest stage of all.
“I want my family back home in India to one day be able to see me on television umpiring international matches,” she said.
“I feel very good being the only female doing it and I see it as an opportunity. I have the support from family and I know I can do it.”
Mrs Sharma forms part of Cricket Tasmania’s growing rate of females with an interest in cricket.
Last year there was a 26 per cent increase in women participating in cricket on 2017, with 35 per cent of the almost 48,000 Tasmanians involved in cricket being female.
Cricket Tasmania match officials manager Gerry O’Dea said Cricket Tasmania was after more female umpires.
“Soniya is … the only female we have umpiring,” he said.
“Cricket Tas has been proactive in advertising for new female umpires but it is a challenging task.”
A cricket-playing background is not necessary to become an umpire.
If we aren’t able to use the ground and facilities, I dare say the club’s going to shut the door. PHIL HAMMER, DODGES FERRY FOOTBALL CLUB