Young players missing out due to shortage of training ground lights

Somerfield Park is one of three grounds that has lights for Cashmere Technical Football Club’s...
Somerfield Park is one of three grounds that has lights for Cashmere Technical Football Club’s mid-week training. Photo: Supplied
A growing football club is making a bid for more playing space with lights to train under.

Lisa Young.
Lisa Young.
Cashmere Technical Football Club teams often have to sacrifice mid-week training sessions due to a lack of ground space for players.

Club representatives Caroline Mason and Lisa Young told Waihoro Spreydon-Cashmere Community Board members about the issues.

"Our numbers go up every year. We’ve got nearly 1600 kids down there but I’ve got 40 kids on the waiting list because we really haven’t got anywhere else to put them at the moment," Young said.

"We constantly say no to teams that they can’t train during the week because we’ve only got three grounds with lights."

The grounds with lights used by the club are Garrick Park, ​​​​​​Whittington Ave and Somerfield Park.

The club has players aged four through to over 50s and often has to close grounds used to train on due to bad weather to keep them in good condition for weekend games.

"In the winter it gets dark so training grounds with lights are at an absolute premium so that affects the number of teams we can have playing," Mason said.

Caroline Mason.
Caroline Mason.
Mason said having more space with lighting would create more opportunities for other activities, such as walking football for older members.

Mason said space for playing has been an ongoing issue for the club, particularly due to not having a lot of green space that drains well on the South side of the city.

Young said about 50 per cent of the grounds used by the club can’t be played on when it rains and they sometimes have to move to other spaces like Hagley Park.

Mainland Football chief executive Martin Field Dodgson said there is a challenge finding adequate participation space during the week under lights, particularly in the south-east, north and south-west of the city.

"It has got to the point where we have clubs with waiting lists, which ultimately means we have residents of Christchurch - many of whom are kids - sitting at home not able to engage in physical and social activity at their local football club," he said.

Dodgson said while there is plenty of access to fields during the weekend, very few of these spaces are lit, which means they’re not accessible during the week.

Martin Field Dodgson.
Martin Field Dodgson.
He also said there has been an increase in players wanting to participate in mid-week games rather than the traditional weekend games.

Cashmere Technical Football Club has a "catchment" covering Hoon Hay, Spreydon, Cashmere, Waltham, Roimata, St Martins, Woolston, Opawa, and extends to Governors Bay and Diamond Harbour.

Mason and Young suggested looking at how grounds are currently allocated and used and the potential for additional grounds with lights.

The club also has a long-term vision of having an artificial surface football pitch.

Community board chair Karolin Potter suggested the group presents to Christchurch City Council as the issue goes beyond the community board’s area.

"You’re talking to us and we’re one of seven boards and this is a Christchurch-wide problem ... I think this is an issue for the wider population of elected members," Potter said.

"We have emphasised green space on this board for quite a while now because of the intensive housing to compensate so that kids have got places to have fun and games and climb on trees."

Potter noted the board will still request staff advice on the network plan for sports ground availability and discuss options for potential sites with artificial turf and lights.


Local trusted journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Star Media journalists and photographers continue to report local stories that matter everyday - yours.

For more than 152 years our journalists have provided Cantabrians with local news that can be trusted. It’s more important now than ever to keep Cantabrians connected.

As our advertising has fallen during the pandemic, support from you our reader is crucial.

You can help us continue to provide local news you can trust simply by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter