Touch players to cool heels while flood damage fixed
REGIONAL touch players have more time to prepare for the new Ipswich competition season.
The Ipswich Touch Football Association has been forced to postpone the start of the upcoming competition.
The opening rounds, which were meant to commence this month, have been delayed due to the Australia Day Floods.
Jim Finimore Oval at One Mile was covered in a sea of flood water.
Repairing the damage will result in the competition kicking off three weeks late on March 4.
ITA official Dale O'Connell said the Ipswich City Council had been working tirelessly to free the fields from debris, but their progress had been halted by faulty capacitors in the floodlighting system.
Ipswich City Council representative Greg Gadsby has notified the ITA and explained that those parts will take up to three weeks to be supplied and fitted.
ITA president Ross Pedley said the grand final had been pushed back three weeks to accommodate a full 14-week regular season.
The grand finals will now be held on Friday, June 28.
"We were mindful of players and their teams getting a complete regular season, therefore our only viable option was to extend the season beyond the original grand final date of June 7,'' Pedley said.
"The council have been very supportive of our association, seeing that this is the second time in two years that we have been affected.''
After the 2011 floods, the Ipswich City Council relocated the power box which houses the control board for the lights, refurbished the clubhouse and top-dressed and maintained the oval.
Despite these efforts, the floods again inundated the facilities causing major damage.
"One major difference with the Australia Day Floods is that we had ample time to remove the ITA's gear from the clubhouse,'' ITA secretary Brad Smith said.
"In 2011, thousands of dollars' worth of equipment was destroyed when the record flood peak consumed the second floor of our clubhouse.
"In some respects, we have got off very lightly.
"We provide a community service and our members expect us to run the organisation in a professional manner.
"So, by working closely with the council, we can ensure a safe environment for our players.''
Connell, the Rhondda Touch Club president and Ipswich Touch Association senior vice-president, is urging all players to be patient while the repairs are conducted.
"We explored the possibility of using other fields and even playing the early rounds on Sunday afternoons, but realised that this may impinge upon other sporting associations,'' Connell said.
"Instead, we have decided to extend the season into what is normally our off-season in the heart of winter."
The ITA executive is encouraging its members to regularly check the association's website for updates.
Team nominations for the new season are available at www.ipswichtouch.com.