DRY: United Warriors president Paul Crilly at Football Hervey Bay's junior fields..
DRY: United Warriors president Paul Crilly at Football Hervey Bay's junior fields.. Alistair Brightman

First play for juniors delayed due to dry grounds

SPORT is not the first thing that jumps to mind when drought is discussed but the long dry has deemed the Fraser Coast's sporting fields unsafe.

While Fraser Coast's farmers struggle against increasingly diminishing dam levels, our juniors may be forced to wait before they get to play.

Football Wide Bay is one of the worst hit, as the scheduled starting date for junior games was pushed back to March 18.

Originally scheduled for March 4, Football Wide Bay's dams ran dry mid-January and the majority of fields are currently unplayable.

Football Wide Bay president Stuart Taylor said there was no relief on the horizon.

"Effectively there's no outlook for rain and no water,” Mr Taylor said.

"The conditions of grounds are a serious issue, to the point it's unsafe.”

The start of 2017 has been one of the driest on record.

Hervey Bay has recorded just 9% of its average so far.

The average for the first two months of the year is 297mm, but Hervey Bay has recorded 26.8mm.

Maryborough has recorded just 20.4mm of rain since January 1.

The average for the first two months is 338mm.

The Bureau of Meteorology has provided no respite, with little to no rain forecast for the Fraser Coast in the near future.

For the region's footballers, senior and competitive age groups could see a start to their seasons by March 25, though there is a possibility that could be pushed to even later in the year.

The grasses on Hervey Bay's junior fields on Tavistock St are in a less-than-desirable shape, with shades of green grass on one field and a brown, dead tinge to the rest of the fields.

United Warriors president Paul Crilly (pictured) said his club had sought other avenues while those fields suffered, while KSS Jets have moved from Hervey Bay Hockey's fields to Seafront Oval.

"We've tried to keep as much traffic off it as possible,” Mr Crilly said.

"People might think the season was delayed or changed but with juniors it's fairly flexible, and we're talking about non-competitive teams.

"With the weather the best option was to push it back and hope.”

Football Wide Bay administration officer Peter Guest said there was a possibility junior competitions could be pushed back to March 25 and beyond.

Guest said that it largely depended on whether or not the region got any substantial rain, though the junior fields' water supply ran dry in January.

"It shouldn't start until after Easter,” Mr Guest said. "It's just dangerous for the kids (at this point).

"I don't think the fields will be back in four weeks. It affects the juniors mainly, though the senior fields (at Hervey Bay Sports Club) aren't too much better.”

Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders backed a push by Fraser Coast Regional Council to have the region drought-declared.



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