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Boom time for Greytown football


Jarrod MacDonald on the ball for Greytown’s Capital Four team at Soldiers Memorial Park. The club has outgrown the facility and is seeking new grounds.

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Football in Greytown is flourishing, but the sport has quickly outgrown its current facilities and desperately needs new grounds.

Greytown AFC and Greytown Junior AFC run football in the town and are in the process of bringing the clubs under one umbrella, but numbers are surging, stretching their resources to breaking point.

The seniors have grown from three teams in 2019 to seven, including two women’s teams, and the clubs have a total of 140 registered players. The junior club has seen similar growth, fielding 17 teams for 160 players.

Greytown AFC president Tim Stevenson said the growth, especially in the women’s game, was fantastic for the community and had a massive impact but that has placed a real strain on resources.
The clubs play out of Memorial Park on Kuratawhiti Street, sharing the facility with Greytown Cricket Club. Space is limited at the ground – only enough space for one full-sized football pitch and a smaller pitch.

“With cricket being there, we would need an artificial turf, but there’s just not enough space. It’s got to the point I don’t think it’s viable to stay there in the medium term,” Stevenson said.

The situation has not been helped with the poor state of the ground, which resulted in the Greytown Fresh Choice Capital Four team playing their first six matches away from home, and teams training at the Greytown Rugby Club grounds, Carterton’s Howard Booth Park, and the artificial turf at Masterton’s Trust House Memorial Park.

“It’s a bog down there at the moment. It’s just the increased volume of traffic and it’s not been looked after very well for the past 10 years either; it’s always a challenge.

“If we trained at Soldiers Memorial Park, it would destroy the ground.”

Stevenson said the reality was there was not enough green space in Greytown to support community sports.

The clubs were looking at their options and have started discussions with the South Wairarapa District Council and Greytown Rugby Club.

He believes there are two viable options — an orchard behind Soldiers Memorial Park, although Stevenson said the owner is not keen to sell — and a plot of land behind the rugby club.

“The rugby club would like us to find the ability to buy the land behind and then have a larger sports centre and that would be ideal. But finding money to buy something like that will be difficult.

“I think we would probably get it because the council have indicated they need green space. We know the council has a need to acquire more park ground in this area, and we know there’s bigger growth and there are kids coming through as well, and we just think that it needs to happen.”

Stevenson added that an artificial turf, which could be used by several codes all year round would provide South Wairarapa with a much-needed facility.

He was keen though to avoid the mistakes of recent years when a proposed sports hub at Kuranui College was promoted.

“The risk is that the sports hub that happened a couple of years ago, there was a solution just presented to a problem and that most of the people in the community didn’t realise there was a problem.

“We want to paint what the problem is, so it’s not a surprise when council says yea, we do want to spend that greens and reserve money we have earmarked on prime land.

“There’s the story of growth, and there’s all these people participating, and there are these really big issues that with the current setup cannot be resolved because it fundamentally comes down to a lack of space.

“We’ve got heaps of players, but we’re literally bursting at the seams, and there’s a tangible problem that needs to be solved.”

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