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Drought closes Loyalist College soccer and rugby fields

Soccer field

The Loyalist College soccer and rugby field remains empty. This summer’s drought has dried out the field so much that teams aren’t able to play on it. Photo by Mallory Day, QNet News

By Mallory Day [1]

BELLEVILLE – Loyalist College [2]‘s soccer and rugby teams didn’t play on the campus field on Saturday and Sunday.

The field at Loyalist is suffering due to the hot, dry weather this summer. That means the soccer and rugby teams aren’t able to play on it. Instead, the teams will be playing at Mary Ann Sills Park, about a five-minute drive east of the college.

Loyalist athletic director Jim Buck said the field was in pretty rough shape in the spring when the athletic staff tried to put seed on the grass to make it more playable.

“We had the worst drought we’ve had in 53 years. So that drastically affected the growth and we just didn’t have success the way we hoped to with the field,” said Buck. “We did have water trucks come in and occasionally water it for us, but that’s an expensive proposition.”

Buck said the decision to change the location of college rugby and soccer games was made last week, after the athletic staff held their breath about the field all summer: “We just decided it was in our best interest for our student athletes to not play on the field this year.”

Soccer player Stephanie Young during her lunch break. Photo by Mallory Day

Soccer player Stephanie Young says she’s not worried about injuries on the new field. Photo by Mallory Day, QNet News

But Buck isn’t the only one concerned about the student athletes on the field. Men’s rugby coach Dick Howe said he’s more worried about the athletes playing at the Mary Ann Sills Park field.

Soccer player Kylie Holiday taking a break between classes. Photo by Mallory Day

Kylie Holiday is another members of the varsity soccer team. Photo by Mallory Day, QNet News

“It’s going to be pretty tough because now all of our games will be played on turf, which we’re not big fans of,” said Howe. “For both the women’s soccer and the two rugby teams it’s going to be really difficult because of injuries, and it’s just the nature of the beast when you play on a field like that.”

But soccer-team members Stephanie Young and Kylie Holiday said they don’t think playing on turf will increase the chance of  players being injured.

“Injuries can happen no matter what,” said Young. “Any field can be bumpy, but it depends more on the actual game and the plays that happen and the team you’re facing.”

Rugby player Brooke Babcock relaxing after going for a run. Photo by Mallory Day, QNet News

The rugby team has already been pratising on the new field, player Brooke Babcock says. Photo by Mallory Day, QNet News

Rugby player Brooke Babcock said she thinks the change of field could cause injuries if the team didn’t practise on the new field beforehand. But “luckily for the women’s rugby team, we practise on the off-site field once a week,” she said.

The price to use Mary Ann Sills Park hasn’t yet been confirmed. Buck said it is reasonable, estimated to be $80 to $90 an hour including lights. It will have an impact on the athletics budget, he said, but added that he doesn’t think it will be the difference between having a balanced budget or a deficit.

It’s still unknown if the teams will return to the campus field by the end of the season, Buck said.