TYABB Cricket Club wants Mornington Peninsula Shire to help pay for new cricket nets at Bunguyan Reserve after the old nets were taken down following the murder of Luke Batty earlier this year.
President Sam Taranto said the club had already raised almost $100,000 towards the estimated $120,000 cost of building replacement cricket training nets at the Tyabb sports ground and had put in a funding request as part of the shire’s draft budget process.
The old nets were removed as a sign of respect after 11-year-old Luke was killed by his father during a cricket practice session at the ground in February.
“We’re almost there so we’ve asked the council to make a contribution to the costs of the new nets,” Mr Taranto said, adding that the club had raised about $40,000 from a celebrity T20 cricket match in March, as well as receiving a $20,000 grant from the state government and $19,800 from both Cricket Australia and Cricket Victoria.
“It’s a fitting tribute to young Luke and we’re getting there gradually. Various people have been coming on board and we have a few applications in the pipeline so we’re hopeful we’ll be able to have the funding in place soon, especially if the council is able to help out.”
A council report prepared in the response to the club’s submission states that under shire occupancy terms, the cost of maintaining cricket nets is the responsibility of the clubs.
“But in this instance, given the tragic circumstances and the club’s proactive decision to build a multi-purpose training venue available for other sports, financial support could be considered by council.”
Councillor Lynn Bowden said she would be “strongly supporting” the funding request. “I’ll certainly be pushing as hard as I can,” she said. “It’s obviously very important for the community after all the tragic events so I think the council really needs to show its support and do something positive to help the healing process.”
Mr Taranto also revealed Luke’s mother, Rosie Batty, had recently joined the Tyabb Cricket Club committee after expressing a strong desire to maintain her connection to the club with which her son had played as a junior.
Ms Batty said she wanted to give back something to club after all the help and support she had been given following the loss of her son, Luke, and the death of her estranged partner, Greg Anderson, who was fatally shot by police.
“This whole community has been so wonderfully supportive towards me through all of this, especially the cricket club, so I wanted to be able to help out where ever I’m needed,” she said.
“It also gives me a chance to stay connected with the club that meant so much to Luke and keep in touch and help out his friends, who are also still grieving.
Ms Batty also revealed that Friday, 20 June, would have been Luke’s 12th birthday.
“It was a tough weekend for me, but it was lovely to be able to meet up again with some of Luke’s friends at a small party held in his honour,” she said.