Our grounds have received very little maintance work over the 2 1/2 decades we've been using them but under the Auckland Council plans to upgrade all sports grounds, the Drury Sports Complex has finally had drainage installed.
Contractors began work in May 2012 with the project happening in two stages. Drainage went in across all of the top fields (so everywhere including the rugby field, excepting the #2 lower field).
Stage One was completed in July. A big loop of ring main (drains/pipes) went in around each field and across the fields running east-west, which collects water and discharges it at the back of the changing sheds down into the stream. This closed the fields for play for several weeks.
Fortunately Papakura CFC made training & match space available to us at Papakura Army Camp & McLennan Park, and some pro-active coaches from 9th & 10th grades (Dave, Tony, Cliff & others) marked out junior pitches on #2 and kept them maintained.
Stage Two was to put in trenches across the fields running north-south. This drainage work would have the most effect on the fields but as the grounds were too wet to start immediately, we retured to train/play at Drury in July with little sign of improvement to the fields.
At the end of the football season as we headed into Spring, the rain eased and the grounds dried sufficiently for Stage Two to commence. Drury Cricket moved to McLennan Park for at least the first half of their season and the entire top grounds were closed for two months after the work was completed while trenches compacted and grass regrew. The trenches were later topped up with sand twice as they compacted down, allowed to rest for a few months, then topped up again late Januray 2013.
The Council also committed to sand carpeting #2 Field. This was pencilled in for summer but as the contractors were fully booked, it looked like it may happen in March 2013, effectively closing the field for the whole winter season as it recovered and creating a BIG problem as it left us with 1 full sized field to accommodate 11 teams! Thankfully the Council was able to arrange for the contractors to start work in November. The field will remain closed for several months but should be ready for play when leagues kick-off in April 2013.
Over Dec/Jan/Feb, the lower field was watered regularly to assist grass growth, and sprinklers were started on the top fields mid-March. The unexpected drought across NZ this summer has meant no rain to encourage grass growth.
In March 2013 it was discovered why the sand kept sinking in places - the new trenches had crossed over old drains and sand was seeping out sideways into the old drains. In April, this was remedied, the slits topped up again and grass seed placed in the sand tracts. Encouraged by a bit of rainfall, the grass has been growing in, with tufts sprouting in the sand tracts.
The Council re-opened the grounds for play mid-May 2013 but a couple of nights training proved they weren't ready for matches. The sand was unstable beneath boot and balls didn't roll... they skipped & bumped & jumped, making control difficult. And the rabbits had been busy popping up through the sand slits, leaving dangerous holes. We requested AFF continue scheduling 'home' matches at other venues and most teams continued to train at alternative venues.
We were incredibly lucky that local schools generously allowed us to play on their fields (Drury School, South School, Park Estate School, Ramarama School & Rosehill College) as well as Papakura City FC making space at McLennan Park and Papakura Rugby at Beach Road for Seniors who needed lights.
Well-drained fields will not only greatly improve our training & match experiences, they mean we can schedule tournaments without fear they won't be able to go ahead, which has hampered us previously.
It's taken a lot of energy from many dedicated people over many years to get this project underway. Most have moved on from DUFC & Papakura Council but their efforts aren't forgotten. Our sincere thanks to Graham Purdy & Michael Turner (pictured) from Papakura Local Board who helped us start the initiative; Peter Harding, our liaison at Auckland Council and Martin Strange & Ian Cathcart from DUFC for the many meetings, emails and phone calls. Also Bruce McGrath at Papakura CFC for allowing us to use their grounds, and AFF staff (David, Martin & Kelly) for moving matches and working with Auckland Council staff.
Attached are photos taken as work got underway and over time as fields rejuvinate.
Last Modified on 11/05/2013 17:29