Robot line marker’s arrival celebrated with demo

Robots are pretty handy on the pitch.

The Balclutha Association Football Club celebrated the arrival of its new robotic sports field line marker with a demonstration on Wednesday, which showed it is a no-nonsense player.

It is the first robot marker to make a permanent appearance in the South Otago area.

The club received a $50,000 grant about three weeks ago from The Trusts Community Foundation and used club funds to subsidise the remaining costs.

The club had been searching for an alternative to doing it manually, as football club committee member and now-retired line marker Alf Nicol said he was "getting old".

"I have been marking many fields on many weeks so people can play their various sports in the area," Mr Nicol said.

"We’ve got so many sports here now, which is great, but I am getting old now," he said.

Balclutha Association Football Club president Danny Simmonds (left) and Perennial Sport South...
Balclutha Association Football Club president Danny Simmonds (left) and Perennial Sport South Island representative and salesman Jimmy Bailey watch as the new robot field marker prepares a football field for them on Wednesday. PHOTO: EVELYN THORN
"There has been a decline of volunteers over the years, which is the same as most places."

He was "blown away" to receive the funding grant.

"I never thought this would happen during my time," Mr Nicol said.

"We’re thrilled."

The robot holds about five litres of paint and can do two to three fields each top-up.

It is controlled by a device which maps out the area.

A few club members will be in charge of using the robot to minimise risk of damaging it and making sure it does not fall into any offside traps.

Balclutha AFC president Danny Simmonds said the club was "rapt" with the new robot.

"We’re so excited to have this in our area," he said.

"It is very easy to use and will be a massive help to us."