Rain closes multiple sports grounds

Thousands of football, rugby and hockey players will be sidelined this weekend after days of rain forced the closure of pitches across Christchurch.

An updated list of the grounds affected went live on the Christchurch City Council (CCC) website today.

CCC parks operations manager Ross Campbell said many of the closed fields were ''saturated'' after this week's heavy rain.

''We are having unprecedented ground conditions following the wettest three months on record. For March and April, the Botanic Gardens received three to four times the normal rainfall,'' he said.

''Closing the grounds . . . will allow them to continue to dry out, ensuring they are in a suitable condition for sports when they are re-opened. None of the closures are permanent.''

CCC's website, however, says several football grounds at Ferrymead Park and Wigram Village Green are ''out'' for the rest of the season.

Campbell said Ferrymead Park's intermediate ground was being redeveloped into a sand-based pitch and ''work on site has been delayed due to ground conditions''.

Wigram Village Green grounds were being re-levelled and re-grassed and Hagley Park South was also being ''rested'' to allow settlement and re-grassing after trenching to repair underground services. 

Tim Gilkison, the general manager of community rugby for the Canterbury Rugby Football Union, said the closures impacted 14,500 players across the region with games being postponed or cancelled.

''It is frustrating for everybody when we cannot play our full round, [but] it is not in anyone's interests to cut it up,'' he said.

Click here to see a full list of sports grounds closures.

The Press