Good Morning to all Magpie players, parents, coaching staff, sponsors, and supporters. This weekend is the nominated start of Senior NPL and WPL competition in Northern NSW. Youth NPL and JDL commenced 2 weeks earlier.

However, as everyone is aware our area has been impacted over the last fortnight, with an unprecedented volume of rain and flooding. This has affected our training and our ground preparation.
The following outline is to allow everyone to have a clear indication of where all aspects of this weekend are currently positioned. It is up to date as at time of writing (Saturday morning).

Cooks Square Park – the ground has been flooded and closed for over a week. The rye grass that was sown early in March, has taken very well, and has grown impressively. It only dried out sufficiently, by yesterday, to allow council mowers to give it its first cut. Council will return this afternoon to give further (mower) cuts to bring it down to a playable height.

The ground will be marked Sunday morning by club personnel. We look forward to the playing surface being in excellent condition by Sunday afternoon.

NPL Youth – these teams were scheduled to play Broadmeadow Magic at Cooks Square Park today (Saturday), however the games have been postponed, due to the condition of the ground. This is extremely disappointing for all concerned, as it comes as the third event of a continually disrupted start to the Youth season, as impacted by the weather.

NPL Seniors – these teams are kicking off their season this afternoon with the 2020 Grand Final replay against Edgeworth at Edgeworth. At this stage there is no assurances that all games will be played. Again the condition of the ground, would be the determinator. Every effort will be made to at least play the 1st grade fixture. I encourage as many Magpie supporters as possible to get out to Edgeworth for the 5pm kick off – and provide enthusiastic encouragement to our boys, to get them off to a great start to their season.

JDL Teams – these boys and girls are scheduled to compete today and Sunday out at Speers Point on the synthetic surfaces, so it is likely that those games will be unaffected by the wet conditions.

WPL – Sunday’s games have been listed for some time, as our opportunity to give the Women’s Premier League a memorable launch into the Magpie family. Much preparation and planning had been committed to that end. However, the decision needed to be made to postpone the earlier games (Under 13s, 15s, and 17s), to give every opportunity for the ground to be in a playable condition for the senior teams. At time of writing, the schedule is for a 3pm kick off for the Reserves and 5pm for 1st Grade.

I encourage you to take the opportunity to get up to Cooks Square Park on Sunday afternoon to welcome these players to the club, and to acknowledge the hard work that has been put in by the players and associated coaching and club staff in getting us to this point.

Youth & JDL Season Launch – An unfortunate impact of the lingering COVID restrictions was the need to change the normal process of a Season Launch for these players, in the great auditorium facility at East Maitland Bowling Club. The event has been relocated as an ‘outside event’ at Cooks Square Park on Sunday. This was timed to run through the day – team by team, during the WPL lead up games. Due to the postponement of those earlier games, the original schedule of teams has been rearranged. This occurred at a meeting of the Football Operations Committee last night, and the new schedule of team presentations will be published.

Youth and JDL players and their families are encouraged to come to Cooks, during Sunday afternoon to be involved in the Season Launch event and stay around to cheer on our inaugural WPL Seniors games.

Apologies for the length of this note, but there are some other matters that I would like to clarify with everyone and are as follows.

Gear – it has been a very unfortunate situation with our gear availability. The availability and distribution of it, has been impacted by overseas supply issues related to the COVID pandemic. We would normally have all gear in players hands by end of February. Unfortunately, that is not the case this year. However, I do want to acknowledge the hard work and effort that has been seen by Barges and Raffertys, plus several additional volunteers, in dealing with the many problems that have been experienced.

Training Grounds and Facilities – an increase in teams and a decrease in available facilities, plus the onset of unseasonably high rainfall, has all culminated in several problems in providing our players with the required facilities. We are working closely with Maitland Council to alleviate these problems as quickly as we can. In the meantime, we have reinstated JDL training at the Maitland Hockey Centre, and commenced some teams training out at the recently transitioned synthetic ‘Fast Five’ courts at Cessnock.

ITALK TRAVEL Raffle – This fund-raising activity has been with the club for 50 years (so I am told). It was intended that 2020 would be its last year. However, whilst some tickets were sold prior to COVID hitting, there was insufficient activity to finalise the Raffle. On that basis we will be endeavouring to sell as many tickets as possible at the games on Sunday to enable us to make the draw and finalise the task. The original 1st prize was a $3,000 Travel voucher through our sponsor, I TALK TRAVEL, however because of the circumstances, this has been converted to a $3,000 cash prize, plus a 2nd and 3rd prize. As we are obliged to finalise this event, it is likely that the club will incur an unfortunate loss, so we would appreciate your support – tickets are only $2 each.

Ray Watkins
MFC President.