Sport

Tears as water retruns to flood Keith Sternberg Oval

HOPES SUNK: This photo was taken late yesterday morning, with the waters on the rise at Keith Sternberg Oval. By 6pm the entire playing surface was under water.
HOPES SUNK: This photo was taken late yesterday morning, with the waters on the rise at Keith Sternberg Oval. By 6pm the entire playing surface was under water. Contributed

FOR two years, Rose Baxter fought and longed for the day cricket would resume on Keith Sternberg Oval.

It took exactly two years, longer than anyone had expected, following the floods of January, 2011.

Baxter had vowed to dance a jig of joy in celebration on the pitch.

She will have to wait some time now.

The joy has turned to tears as the North Ipswich grounds have again been swallowed by the swollen Bremer River.

The Northsiders senior cricketers returned to the recently completed ground for two weekends of cricket.

The juniors were to return last weekend with an under-16 match scheduled.

"It's a bit disheartening," Northsiders junior co-ordinator Baxter said.

"It's just something we've got to do. There's people worse off than us."

By yesterday evening the vast majority of the one and two fields were inundated.

"Our new lovely wicket block is having a soak," Baxter said. "It's a bit sad looking at the pitch."

She remained hopeful a brief dunking wouldn't be too damaging.

"The field was done to a good standard so hopefully the wicket just needs scarifying and to scrape some mud off it," she said.

The alternative doesn't bear thinking.

But if there is one thing that has kept the clubs that use the grounds going it is the self sacrifice of the members, neighbours and friends.

About 50 to 60 people arrived at the club yesterday morning from 8.30am after the call was put out for help to clear the clubhouse.

They managed to move all valuables to higher ground before the floods rose to the clubhouse level.

"It's a great mob of people at the Tigers," Baxter said.

"That's what we're all about."

Baxter's optimism is typical of the spirit of the club and a big part of what led to her being awarded the Ipswich Sports House Volunteer-of-the-Year honour for 2011-12.

"We've been through the worst," she said.

"It's like 'here we go again'.

"It's felt like we've taken two steps forward, now we're taking two steps back. But we're a pretty strong club. The people are behind us and we will get there again."

Baxter has even been able to find some positives amongst the swirling floodwaters and sinking emotions.

"We've got a grant for a new shed," she said.

"They haven't started that yet so it's sort of a blessing."

Rugby league training was due to start yesterday, with the kids who turned up resorting to water sports instead.

"We only just started playing cricket again," Norths Leagues Club president David Haug said.

"We were just getting back on our feet with league too, with 200 juniors signing on. Now we don't know what is going to happen."

And Baxter doesn't know when she'll get to dance that jig.

It won't deter her.

Topics:  ex-tropical cyclone oswald, flood, keith sternberg oval, rose baxter



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