The brief of the $35M redevelopment of Junction Oval was to not only develop a home for cricket in Victoria, but also provide a boutique-sized alternative first class venue for Victoria to use when the MCG was not available.
The development consists of a large northern building which houses the professional Victorian cricket teams, provides change-room facilities for game day as well as elite training and recovery facilities. The high quality natural turf Field of Play and natural turf practice nets were designed by SPORTENG to replace the longitudinal fall on the oval, to have a constant perimeter level.
The main oval consists of 12 natural turf wickets and the practice nets consist of 16 natural turf wickets.
The biggest challenge this project faced was the latent ground conditions found during the bulk earthworks phase of the project for the main oval. While a detailed geotechnical investigation, consisting of a series of boreholes, had been completed across the site there were areas that were found during construction to be less than ideal. Old, buried clay wicket blocks were found and Murphy’s Law became a real thing; a large hole was dug for the preparation of the subgrade and then it rained and the silty sand material became very difficult to work with.
The existing site terrain graded towards the north meaning the subgrade at the northern end of the field was the greatest impacted by the rainfall with run-off ponding at this end of the oval.
The inclusion of a bridging layer of imported engineer fill over the softer areas allowed the subgrade to be stabilised with a combination of lime and cement. Stabilisation helps to dry out the material and create a firm base to work from. Post stabilisation the northern end of the field was raised with imported engineered fill by almost 1m to create the required subgrade levels. Once the earthworks were complete the oval then had a constant level around the perimeter of the oval.
Since being completed, the facility has hosted many first class matches as well as international women’s cricket.
Cricket Victoria Manager Shaun Graf said "I think it’s only fair that major sport gets its own base in Victoria. Cricket is only getting bigger, and the female game has exploded. We needed to future-proof the game in this state, and we think we have done it".
When undertaking their first training session at the venue, Victoria skipper Aaron Finch said " It's beautiful. Everything from the changerooms, the gym and pool set-up, the indoor centre, it's all pretty amazing!"