Four-lane cricket facility opens at Bull Paddock

James Butt (centre) was the driving force behind the project.

A new state of the art four-lane multiuse cricket practice facility has been officially opened after over two years of planning and construction.

Sitting next to the old cricket nets at the Bull Paddock, the pristine new cricket facility which wouldn’t look out of place at a Sydney private school, was finally declared open to the public after funding was applied for in 2016.

The project is the result of a collaborative effort between Snowy Valleys Council ($50,000), a NSW Government grant ($15,000), Tumut Junior Cricket Association ($10,000) and an infrastructure grant from Cricket NSW, in partnership with Cricket Australia ($22,000).

Initially, the application was not eligible for funding as it did not meet Cricket Australia’s Facility Guidelines and had a shortfall in funding.

But reaffirming his claim to the ‘Cricket NSW’s A Sport for All Volunteer of the Year’ award was Tumut Junior Cricket President James Butt, who was the driving force behind the project and oversaw its development from the initial planning stages to declaring the facility open on Thursday.

“I’m really pleased with how it turned out,” Butt said.

“Quite often in your mind it doesn’t turn out how you wanted, but it turned out exactly how I wanted.

“It’s been a long process but it’s definitely been worth it, and now it’s ready for anyone to come down and try it out.”

Snowy Valleys Council Mayor, James Hayes was also at the opening and said he hopes the new facility’s grow cricket in the region.

“I am very excited to see this high-quality training facility for our region,” Hayes said.

“I am confident that the new nets will help foster the game of cricket and increase participation in the sport throughout the community”.

Inspired and refined by the faults of cricket nets from Wagga Wagga and surrounds, the facility boasts four lanes, removable posts, fully synthetic turf, as well as flood proof and drainage systems.

The temporary posts and netting which can be removed, create a large raised synthetic facility which can be utilized by other sports including Soccer and Hockey during wet weather training and enable cricket coaches to provide improved personalized training.

And Butt says he is most proud of its multi-use functionality and the training benefits it will have on local cricketers.

“The great thing is we have the ground right there so we can do our close in training in the new facility, and then take it straight out onto the ground,” he said.

“Juniors will be using it as a major training facility.

“Hockey and Soccer will also be able to use it for training.

“They can’t have a game obviously but when it’s raining or really wet this will remain firm.

“The old nets got a new synthetic surface and are also available for anyone to use to any time.”

The project was so impressive Tumut Junior Cricket Association and Snowy Valley Council were nominated and won this year’s ‘Cricket NSW A Sport for All Community Facility Project of the Year’ award.

Mayor, Cr James Hayes was in attendance and helped present the award to Butt, alongside cricket NSW Development Manager and former Wagga umpire Luke Olsen.

Although the facility is open, Butt says there is still more work to be done on the project with padding to be installed on the back fence and expressing plans to include seating and shading around the facility.

However, for now, Butt is preparing for the upcoming Junior Cricket season and explained why he put so much effort into getting the project up and running.

“We’re really happy with how it turned out,” he said.

“To go from initial funding concept through to completion, I’ve learned a lot.

“You only do it because the kids like it, if they didn’t like it I wouldn’t either.”