New lighting will provide a timely boost for one of the quickest growing sporting clubs in the Hunter ahead of the 2024 season.
New lights have been installed at Lochnivar Sporting Complex by Maitland council, increasing the fields lit for match play to two.
The upgrade is positive news for the Lochinvar Rovers, a club of about 500 players who had to host games at Largs this season.
"It's ahead of schedule, I was worried that by the time they started it the season would have started and if it rained or there were delays (that would have been a problem)," club president Lisa Duhig said.
Announced in January, the club received a grant from the NSW government through a legacy program as a result of the state hosting matches for the FIFA Women's World Cup.
The lights will also help with training in the winter months when players are packed in like sardines, Duhig said.
The recent growth of the Rovers is one of the big success stories for football participation in Northern NSW.
In October the local federation, Northern NSW Football, announced a 20 per cent increase in registered players. This included a 9 per cent increase in MiniRoos (5-11 years) and youth players.
Of the region's 54,358 registered players, 26 per cent are female.
With a large increase of young families moving to the area, Duhig said playing games at night is convenient for youth and senior players.
"We had to play at Largs this year because we had five Friday night teams and only four spots here," she said.
"It was a men's team that topped us over but we couldn't really take a second women's team because we didn't have lights.
"The most important one is both in females and males as they go through the teenage years the only option we had for them was during the day Saturday and Sunday which isn't a good option as a 16 to 20-year-old."
Lochinvar is one of the quickest growing suburbs in the Maitland LGA. In September, 650 land lots were released at Lochinvar Ridge.
This season the club participated in an inaugural Hunter over-30s women's competition and of the Rovers' 48 teams, 43 per cent are female.
The grant also includes money for girls appropriate playing strips with the club hopeful of receiving a further grant for irrigation.
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