Mortlake's D.C Farran Oval is a step closer to being one of the south-west's premier sporting venues with the installation of new high-quality floodlights and turf cricket pitches.
Almost $500,000 of lighting upgrades at the oval mean the venue meets Victorian Football League standards and can facilitate night cricket.
Mortlake Recreation Reserve chair Jacinta Wareham said prior to the project's completion the upgrades were a major boost for the community and could reap sporting and economic benefits.
Mortlake Recreation Reserve committee of management committee member Noel McConnell said the lights were turned on for the first time on Tuesday to focus and position lighting across the ground.
"The lighting has been very poor for a considerable amount of time and whilst it was OK for football training, and the like, in days gone by, it's no longer suitable," Mr McConnell said.
The project to replace the lights cost $420,000 and was partly funded by a federal government COVID-19 stimulus package ($200,000), and $40,000 each from local philanthropic trusts, Moyne Shire Council and user groups including football and cricket clubs.
"It provides lighting of 200 lux which is suitable for regional night-time competitions and it's also suitable for night cricket," Mr McConnell said. "We couldn't host either of those things, it was hard enough to provide enough lighting for football training, let alone a match."
The recent $10.7 million upgrade to Warrnambool's Reid Oval was scheduled to be 200 lux, but once completed it was deemed to be 300 lux.
"Night cricket comes on board and the Mortlake Cricket Club's been pretty successful in the past and they're looking forward to day-night games," Mr McConnell said.
The project will complement the reserve's state-of-the-art indoor training facility.
"We also get a lot of support from the indoor cricket training facility so night cricket will augment that capacity of the indoor facility," Mr McConnell said.
The facility's main users are the Terang Mortlake Football Netball Club and the Mortlake Cricket Club, as well as some community groups.
Mr McConnell also helps co-ordinate the Terang Mortlake junior girls' in the Western Victoria Female Football League and said it would be great to host future games. He said it would be used to host a junior girls football game in mid June.
"We played South (Warrnambool) under lights at south last Friday night. We'll be hoping the return match can be played at D.C. Farran. Unfortunately based on the draw we've got limited opportunities this season for night-time games."
He said the new lighting would allow the user groups to make the most of the facility.
"There's not a whole lot of grounds that have 200 lux," he said. "Recent installations were more like 150 lux which is borderline nighttime games."
It follows a newly installed five turf wicket at the oval about a month ago at a cost of about $100,000 which Mr McConnell said would be used for the upcoming cricket season.
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