Bill Strong Oval to receive upgrade

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Bill Strong Oval, the spiritual home of the Nelson Bay Gropers rugby union club for more than 40 years, is about to get a long-awaited upgrade.

Club president Ray Milton said that a $70,000 grant from the Tomaree Sports Council would be used to improve the oval’s irrigation system.

“Strong Oval is highly visible and it’s important that we ensure it remains in good condition.”

The club has also lodged an application for a $200,000 grant with the NSW Better Country Communities Fund in order to renovate and refurbish the run-down single storey brick building at Bill Strong.

“Currently the building, built in the 1980s, has a single dressing shed with toilet, storage shed and small canteen area. If successful with our funding application, we can move the storage shed which houses the scrum machine and other equipment to a much larger area.

“This will also allow us to fit a second change room to cater for men and women, complete with showers and toilet facilities. Nelson Bay wants to be part of the growth of women’s rugby in Port Stephens.”

He said that the club hoped to use its own builders, labourers and tradies to help with construction.

Mr Milton said that the Gropers had hoped to again host a round of the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union summer sevens carnival for women in 2020, which comprising a dozen or more teams in the under 16s and opens.

Mr Milton said the Nelson Bay club had the support of NSW Rugby, Port Stephens Council, Tomaree Sports Council and State MP Kate Washington.

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