GET ready for the Bathurst Bulldogs to become the night stalkers of the Central West Rugby Union competition.
Since the Bathurst Bulldogs relocated their home base from Walmer Park to Ashwood Park there have been sporadic night games, but now playing on an evening could become more regular event.
The club is currently in the final stages of planning a lighting upgrade at Ashwood Park as part of an $145,900 improvement of facilities being carried out as part of the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund program.
“The lights that we currently having are 50 lux - that's how lights are measured on sporting fields - and the minimum standard for night games are 100 lux,” Bathurst Bulldogs president Greg Reid said.
“We have hosted night games, but it's very hard on spectators and players, it's not the sort of standard we want to have.
“The new lights will be at least 100 lux, we'd love 120, but we have to see what we can fit within the budget because the poles need upgrading as well.”
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More night games are not the only changes the club is in the final stages of planning ahead of the 2019 Blowes Clothing Cup season.
A new scoreboard will also be installed for the main field and it will do more than tell spectators who is leading and how many minutes remain.
“The scoreboard provides so many opportunities for our sponsors and our members to watch replays and big games as well,” Reid said.
“It’s going to be big, it's going to be really special what we will be able to provide with that new scoreboard.
“It would be really good to show some of the other games at half-time or even some of our junior games.”
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Bathurst MP Paul Toole hopes the upgrade will lead to not just Blowes Clothing Cup matches under lights, but other higher-tier fixtures as well.
“The new lights will allow night matches to be scheduled as well as better opportunities for training,” he said.
“There is also the possibility of other matches to be played at Ashwood Park, including regional or state competitions.”
Toole said the upgrades will add to the overall standard of Ashwood Park as a sporting venue in Bathurst and ensure it remains a premier location for rugby union in the Central West.
It has already been announced that the ground will host a Super W fixture in March between defending premiers New South Wales Waratahs and the Melbourne Rebels.
The match is likely to feature a host of current Wallaroos, while the Rebels’ squad includes Swiss international Camille Chamodon.