Cootamundra soccer players are looking forward to a season with less away games than in previous years, thanks to the installation of lights at O'Connor Park.
The new lights will allow them to play some Saturday night games at home in the forthcoming 18-round Riverina competition, rather than having to travel to Wagga as they have had to for night games in the past.
This will result in a significant reduction in the amount of travel needed for both the first and reserve grade men's teams, and for the women's teams which will also probably have first and reserve grades this year. The comp gets under way in the first week of April, with finals in September.
Training started for both men and women's sides four weeks before Christmas, and resumed last Tuesday.
Around 50 players, coaches, committee members, managers and family from the Strikers Soccer Club gathered at O'Connor Park last Friday night for the official turning on of the lights, as well as a meet and greet.
The men's Riverina competition comprises ten first and reserve grade teams, with four sides from Wagga plus one each from Cootamundra, Young, Temora, Junee, Leeton and Griffith.
The women's comp is made up of seven first grade teams, with some smaller clubs such as Young having only a reserve grade side.
The Coota women's Strikers first grade team put in a strong performance last year, just missing out on the finals by a couple of points, and women's coach Annette Parkinson says this year they hope to field a reserve side as well.
"The numbers of have been good but we're still hoping for a few more girls, so if anyone's interested do get in touch (0488 492 197) and come along to training," she said.
The men's first grade team struggled last season, mainly to do with numbers, with some key players quitting during the season with injury, work demands or moving.
A couple of younger players who came up from juniors to make up numbers in reserve were very impressive last year and the club is looking to build on those strengths, as well as having a couple of more experienced players rejoining the club this year.
Pictured above: Committee, coaches and managers - Katherine O'Brien (secretary), Matt Hoy (treasurer), Kaylene Ashley (registrar), Andrew 'Wally' Parkinson (president), Annette Parkinson (women's coach), Col Ashley (vice president), Ian Wilson (reserves coach), Josh Purtell (first grade coach), Aaron Kemp (first grade coach), Ash Holder (women's assistant coach), Rebecca Philpott (women's manager)