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Cricketers have played their first matches on a new synthetic wicket installed at Yinnar Recreation Reserve.

The new pitch, which has a protective cover for the football season, was re-positioned away from the western oval’s centre circle to preserve the integrity of the playing surface.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said the $20,000 project was partly funded with a $5000 grant from the Federal Government’s #lovegippsland Stronger Communities Program.Project partners included the Yinnar Recreation Reserve Committee of Management and Latrobe City Council through its community grants program.

“I hope the higher quality playing surface will enhance players’ enjoyment of playing at the western oval,” Mr Chester said.

“I also hope it will draw more football and cricket matches to Yinnar.

“Greater involvement in local sport helps to create healthy, connected communities, while local businesses will always welcome the trade created by visiting teams, their supporters and other spectators.”

Yinnar Recreation Reserve project manager Peter Quigley said footballers would also benefit from the relocation of the wicket.

“The old wicket was covered in soil and grass in the football season. Unfortunately, the grass didn’t have enough time to get well-established, so the centre circle was always the boggiest part of the ground,” Mr Quigley said.

“As part of this project, we’ve levelled the centre bounce area and off-set the pitch. We hope the improvements to the ground’s surface will help us attract more football matches, such as finals and interleague matches, as well as providing a better surface all year round.

“We are hoping these improvements to our local sporting infrastructure will also help us to boost player numbers and community involvement with the Yinnar Football and Netball Club and the Morwell Tigers Yinnar Cricket Club, which call this reserve home.”

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