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Old Graham Reserve gets new transformation

Everyone that has played lower grades for the TravelSIM Waratahs would know that it is very well known as “Atmosphere Park”.

As most players who played there figured out rather quickly, LM Graham Reserve was named as such because of the distinct lack of atmosphere. It has never been the most inspiring ground to play on, with more dirt than grass, especially after a long soccer season. For years it has had a pitch that is well known for batsmen being given not out for the ball going UNDER the stumps.

This has always been exaggerated by the magnificent old lady herself, Manly Oval, pristine in all of her glory. Players going from 3rd grade to 2nd grade have always been relieved at what they are coming to as well as mistified by what they have just seen.

While Graham’s may not have been the highest class facility in Sydney Grade Cricket, but she was still OURS.

Well, she is still ours, but the old girl has been given a very impressive facelift.

This began at the start of the season when we launched our brand new training facilities at Grahams. We have been training there all year and it is proving to be a fantastic addition to the club.

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But the real treat has been in the transformation of the playing surface itself. The ground was laser levelled and brand new turf was laid to make sure both the cricketers and the soccer players have the best surface possible. The outfield is now top class.

To top this off, LM Graham’s is getting a picket fence. While the fence is square to cater for both cricket and soccer, it gives the ground a classy feel, and means that the term “Atmosphere Park” will be used moving forward without the sarcastic tone.

The installation of the picket fence has begun and co-incides with the first 1st grade match at Graham’s in many a year. It is very exciting that the ground is now at a level that it can be used for 1st grade cricket.

The final piece in the Graham’s jigsaw will be the completion of the new change rooms on Kenneth Rd, as well as the new grandstand and hill (yes that’s right, there is going to be a hill) on the Eastern side of the ground below the new swim centre.

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So Graham’s will become a facility that we have all been dreaming of for years. The precinct will cater for both soccer and cricket of all ages, while also having enough room outside of the picket fence for the local dog walkers to do their thing. Infact, the closed off picket fence takes up 50% of the available area at Graham’s, with the other 50% available to the dog walkers.

Grahams was commissioned to be built as a sporting ground in 1960 and has been used by sporting teams, including the Waratahs, ever since. It caters to 20,000 players every year, including lesser known sports such as frisbee. When finished, it will be one of the premier sporting grounds on the Northern Beaches and one of the premier cricket grounds in Sydney.

We would like to thank Manly Council and Manly Warringah Football Association for their ability to work together and for the continued support.

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