Junior cricket in the picturesque village of Molong in central west NSW, received a huge boost last Friday with the completion of the new junior-sized synthetic pitch that was constructed at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School.

After digging out the old, full-sized concrete pitch in the middle of the school’s grassed area and replaced with a new pitch compliant to Australia Cricket Guidelines, was laid.

The Molong children now boast a pitch which includes Junior Cricket line markings to help promote the transition from Woolworth Cricket Blast into Junior Cricket programs.

Those responsible for its construction said despite being on school property the pitch is a community asset that’s available to all junior cricketers after a $2,381 grant from the Australian Cricket Infrastructure Fund (ACIF) - in conjunction with contributions from the school’s Parents & Citizens (P&C), and Cadia Gold Mine - made the $4,762 project affordable.

Michelle Murphy, St Joseph’s P&C representative, and the person who submitted the application for the ACIF grant, said she expected the pitch would be a boon for junior cricket in Molong.

“This is Molong’s first junior-sized pitch,” she said. “Before its construction, the children at school played on an adult’s-sized pitch.

“Having the big concrete pitch in the middle of the school ground – and it isn’t a huge sports ground - really restricted other activities.

“We have football posts, but the concrete pitch in the middle of the ground meant we lost the multi-purpose use of the field.

“So, we’ve had two positive outcomes from this.”

Parents have told Michelle they hope the pitch will allow Molong to form its own team in the Orange District Junior Cricket Association, and save them from the long, weekly drives to Orange.

She suggested the pitch would also pave more interactions with the local state school through cricket.

“It’s not just ‘Joey’s,’” said Michelle of the synthetic strip. “There’s the public school, and this pitch provides interactions between the schools because it’s an open space for everyone to access.

“We’ve noticed girls didn’t really get involved in cricket, and we think [the size of] the senior pitch might have had something to do with that. We’re hoping this new pitch will encourage them to try cricket.”

Michelle advised anyone wanting to improve their local cricket facilities to apply now for the latest round of ACIF grants which close on Sunday April 17, at 11.59pm.