PORT Fairy accepts the Hampden league made the right decision in moving Saturday’s football pre-season cup competition away from Gardens Oval less than hour before the first game was due to start on Saturday morning.
League chief executive officer Mike Farrow said part of the ground was deemed unsafe after the soil used in a last-minute top-up of drainage works was found to contain rocks, gravel and a metal object.
Six channels stretching about 30 metres from a new drainage pit beyond the boundary line on the western side of the town-end half-forward flank were the problem. Stones and gravel were visible.
Club president Mick Wolfe said the works had been carried out to improve drainage in a part of the ground which had been a quagmire late last season.
He said the club decided to top-dress the channels on Friday after the reinstated areas had sunk.
“We had the best intentions,” he said of levelling out the areas.
“But it was bad product.”
Wolfe said volunteers had tried to remove the stones and gravel but there was too much in the soil.
He said he could understand the league’s decision to move the games.
The club will take a financial hit, losing bar and canteen sales for the day.
South Warrnambool, which quickly took on the hosting duties for the football, bought Port Fairy’s food at cost price, limiting the damage.
Farrow said the league had inspected Gardens Oval on Tuesday and given it the all-clear.
But he said it wasn’t prepared to jeopardise players’ safety.
“We are very grateful South Warrnambool was able to do it. They had the ground marked out for the Hurricanes game against Coburg (Sunday).”
He said the league had never considered moving the netball from Port Fairy because of the emotional tribute to young Seagulls netballer Rebekah Moroney, who died suddenly in January.