MORTLAKE Recreation Reserve hopes the addition of turf cricket pitches and brand new high-quality floodlights will position it as one of south-west's premier sporting venues.
Works on the turf pitch project - spearheaded by Mortlake Cricket Club - are underway and are expected to be all but complete within two months.
The lighting upgrades - which will meet Victorian Football League standards and allow the town to facilitate night cricket - are planned to finish in early April.
The projects will complement the reserve's state-of-the-art indoor training facility.
Mortlake Recreation Reserve chair Jacinta Wareham said the upgrades were a major boost for the community and could reap sporting and economic benefits.
It's just exciting because we think it's going to bring more people to the community, too. It has that flow-on economic effect for our businesses and community.- Jacinta Wareham
"We're very excited because the lights have been in the works for two or three years. It's taken us that long to find the funding for it," Wareham said.
"The turf has come about in the past 12 months but it's been the cricket club's dream to have turf (on D.C. Farren Oval) for about 10 years, since the club lost its turf wicket at the high school.
"It's just exciting because we think it's going to bring more people to the community, too. It has that flow-on economic effect for our businesses and community."
Mortlake Cricket Club captain Todd Robertson, who is also on the recreation reserve committee, said the club was determined to start a women's cricket program in coming seasons.
He and Wareham said the lights and turf pitch would provide greater flexibility in scheduling with more female athletes taking up cricket and football.
"At the moment with your cricket, you'd have under 15s here some Friday nights, under 13s on Saturday mornings, we've got three divisions of senior cricket and with a women's team, we could look at a night game," Wareham said.
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"We could move one of the women's games or men's games to a night. It's the same with the football as well. It allows for those Super Saturdays to run into the evening which are really good revenue-raisers for clubs.
"It seems to be the Hampden league are pushing these Super Saturdays and we couldn't really facilitate them (before)."
Wareham said Moyne Shire had been staunch supporters in helping the club and reserve fulfill their "ambitious" plan.
"We had a masterplan a few years ago and these projects were in the plan. We really just worked our way through trying to find the funding to build them," she said.
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"The clubs themselves - the cricket club and Terang Mortlake Football Netball Club - have put in and we've had the Moyne Shire, community assistance grants through the Moyne Shire, we've had some COVID money through Moyne Shire but federal money.
"Dundonnell Wind Farm has also contributed to the turf wicket. It's obviously a separate project in that it's a cricket club project with the backing of the rec reserve. We've had funding from them and philanthropic grants."
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