Royal Park Reds Cricket Club to be turfed out by East West Link

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Melbourne Leader: Royal Park Reds Cricket Club to be turfed out by East West Link. Nic Price. 29 January 2014 11:37AM

The Royal Park Reds cricket club are being kicked off their ground of 30 years, Poplar Oval by Melbourne Council because other clubs have to re-locate due to east west link. Kit Sleeman, Ben Zika and Joe Loh Source: News Limited

A Royal Park cricket club is being kicked out of its home of almost 30 years due to the loss of sporting grounds caused by the East West Link.

Melbourne Council has told the Royal Park Reds Cricket Club it will have to move from Poplar Oval, which has a synthetic pitch, at the end of the season.

It plans to install a turf wicket for the Mercantile Cricket Association, which is losing two grounds at Ross Straw Field where the tunnel exit joins CityLink.

The Reds have not secured a ground for next year and long-term they may be relocated to Princes Park without a clubroom, president Joe Loh said.

“We use revenue from the bar to pay for gear and for the ground,” Mr Loh said.

“If we don’t have a proper clubroom the club would probably fold within a couple of years.”

Mr Loh said the Reds was a socialist club that accepted people of all abilities and offered discount rates for the unemployed.

“We’re in shock. We’ve been tenants for 30 years, but we don’t seem to have any say.”

The State Government stumped up $15 million to compensate affected sporting clubs late last year and the cash will also be used to upgrade Poplar Oval, Flemington Rd Oval and Princes Park.

But with the loss of Ross Straw Field, the short-term squeeze for sporting clubs is severe.

Youlden Parkville Cricket Club juniors will be forced out of both Poplar Oval and Flemington Rd Oval and president Paul Sinclair said it would hurt development of the game.

“Some of our best sporting facilities will be concreted over and kids will get fatter, sicker and lonelier as a result,” Mr Sinclair said.

Melbourne Council has been contacted for a response.

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