By Jake Beleski

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One weekend was all it took for vandals to ruin the exciting new addition to Wairarapa College’s cricket facilities.

Students had raised over $5000 through a fundraiser quiz and auction evening to put towards new cricket nets.

The Board of Trustees also committed over $2000 to go with a $23,000 grant from the Eastern and Central Community Trust.

The structure was completed by Progressive Engineering prior to Christmas, and the roof net was installed on Friday afternoon.

But by Monday morning it was clear it had been tampered with.

Six decent sized holes had pierced the netting, causing the roof to collapse to the ground.

First XI coach and head of cricket at the school, Alistair Payne, said it was a disappointing outcome.

“During the weekend people have climbed up on the roof net and tried to use it like a trampoline — obviously the netting is not designed to support such weight.

“It is frustrating given the hard work of the students to raise thousands of dollars for the new facility, as well as the planning and behind the scenes work to successfully apply for funds through Eastern and Central Community Trust.

“Many hours of work had gone into the project and for it to not even last out a weekend is extremely disappointing.”

It meant the school would need to be careful with when and how the nets were used, he said.

“It means that most of the netting will have to be locked away and put up and down each training.

“We cannot risk leaving it up for public use in the hope that a group of people don’t vandalise it.”

The net is currently being re-stitched and patched, and the school will continue to promote the facility despite the setback.

“We will continue to push forward in these exciting times for Wairarapa College cricket and the strength of the volunteer network will continue to grow.

“It is such a tremendous facility that we will get so much specific and valuable use out of.”

Wairarapa College’s asset manager, Mike Geenty, said vandalism was a constant problem.

“We are increasing the number of CCTV surveillance and security patrols — these measures to date have seen a reduction in vandalism but there is still a long way to go.”

The vandalism has been reported to police.



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