Drought pain for players

By Kiri Gillespie

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Bay sports teams are suffering infected wounds and painful grass burns because of the drought.

Te Puke Sports and Recreation Club premiers coach Craig Jefferies told the Bay of Plenty Times some players were nursing infected injuries after playing on dry grounds.

"We are not so bad here but we played at Fraser Tech [in Hamilton] two weeks ago and it was really dry. The boys were covered in grazes which invariably all got infected. There's definitely an issue there," Mr Jefferies said.

Some players considered wearing skins compression clothing to help protect them in future games. Such skins are usually used for performance and recovery. "There is talk of it ... I imagine there are some pretty horrible fields coming up," Mr Jefferies said.

Tauranga City United Association Football Club first team coach Duncan Lowry said his players also suffered wounds after playing a friendly match in the Waikato at the weekend.

"There were several players, when they got in the shower afterward with their grass burns they were in absolute agony," Mr Lowry said.

"It [the ground] was just like concrete. It was just shocking."

The team were playing "friendlies" until the season began at Easter. Mr Lowry anticipated "quite a few of us will be wearing skins" by then.

Papamoa primary school Te Akau Ki principal Bruce Jepsen said the heat had scorched the school's grounds so much children who usually ran around barefoot at lunch time were instructed to wear shoes.

"That's an immediate change we've had. You can't go barefoot on the turf ... now it's burning feet with the heat," Mr Jepsen said.

The city council had not received any complaints about turf conditions but many grounds such as Blake Park, Wharepai Domain, and Arataki Park were irrigated. About $500,000 had been spent on new irrigation projects at Wharepai Domain, Moreland Fox Park, Waipuna Park and Te Wati Park but the benefits from this were yet to be seen, a council spokesperson said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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