Known to many in NSW as one of the most iconic football pitches across the state, Bensons Lane, home to historic National Premier Leagues 4 NSW Men’s club Hawkesbury City FC, has been left heartbroken following the devastating floods that ripped apart NSW recently.
The horrific scenes were chaotic to say the least as thousands of residents were left stranded and homeless losing everything in what were one of the worst floods in the nation’s history.
Bensons Lane in Richmond was literally underwater.
Home to the mighty Hawkesbury City FC, their beloved facility was submerged in water, with the club now counting the unfortunate costs of slowly rebuilding its complex once more.
The club’s much admired senior coach and SAP Technical Director Dean Bertenshaw who has lived and breathed the club for the past 32 years, was lost for words when he saw his treasured facility in such a state.
The 47-year-old was inconsolable as he stated to Football NSW the sorry state of affairs the facility was in due to the heavy flooding and rains that destroyed much of the precinct.
“The recent floods were around the 14-metre mark which makes them the most significant in the last 30 years.
“The water submerged everything at the club up to the last level of the grandstand. This meant that our buildings were all fully submerged for over a week causing devastating damage to all of the site.
“We are experiencing total losses of any electrical, fabric, wooden, plastic or fabric-based items. Basically anything that isn’t stainless steel, concrete or brick needs to be disposed of.
“This has resulted in the complete loss of the internals of our clubrooms, all our bibs/bags and training gear, extensive damage to the playing surface, field netting and portable goals.
“Probably some of the worst damage was reserved for all of the new canteen extension that the club had recently built.
“Backing up from the COVID-19 season, this has been disastrous for our proud club.
“It’s early days for the cost estimate but it would sit somewhere between $75-100k at the moment.”
The huge clean-up has commenced with Hawksbury City Council throwing its support behind getting Bensons Lane back to where it needs to be.
“The Hawkesbury City Council has had to provide experts to help clear the buildings and are doing a great job. They are currently underway and as of today (Thursday 8th April), we were onto the fifth skip bin in the first three hours unfortunately.”
The pitch itself will, as you’d imagine, be out of action for quite some time as it begins to repair from what has been a devastating event for the club.
“The ground has been submerged for a long time which will result in longer term damage.
“The fire brigade did a great job washing the main pitch removing plenty of the river mud.
“Unfortunately for us, the growing time is disappearing at this time of year, so new growth will be a problem for winter.
“The training fields are in worse condition and it will be some time before the flood lighting is ready to go for training.”
With the club hitting up the 300 mark in players registered for the 2021 season taking part in the SAP, Youth and Senior football programs, the club stated that for the first half of the year, all matches will be played away from their spiritual home ground.
“We are anticipating playing on the road for at least the first half of the season and are working endlessly at Bensons to try to get ready for the second half of the year.”
The club is in desperate need of support and assistance as a Go Fund Me Page has been set up in a bid to help cover its massive losses and costs following this tragic event.
“We have set up a Go Fund Me Page for anyone who can help with financial contributions for replacing club equipment etc.
“We can also be contacted via email firstname.lastname@example.org for anyone who can assist with equipment, bibs, balls, bags, donations, items for fundraising or anything at all that might help us get started again.”