Games cancelled after pitch vandalism

Games cancelled after pitch vandalism: Angry club officials have spoken of their frustration as a reckless driver has damaged two of their football pitches.

Southwell City Football Club has had to cancel their 7-a-side matches for the foreseeable future as their pitch has been damaged by a irresponsible driver, or drivers, racing and performing doughnuts on the club’s Church Street pitches.

Games cancelled after pitch vandalism

Chairman of the club John Cunningham said: “This was a bit of a shock to say the least, we’re a community club with 300 local players, so why someone would do this is beyond us.

“It’s not just the players, it’s the families who are involved with us as well, most people in the town are involved with the club or know someone who is.”

As a result of the damage, the club is relying on their opponents having pitches available so that games can be played away from home if possible. If not, the games will have to be cancelled altogether.

Mr Cunningham said: “It’s too early to say how much it’s going to cost to repair the pitch, but it’s the inconvenience that’s the biggest problem for us.”

Nottinghamshire Police have confirmed that a vehicle was driven across two football pitches belonging to Southwell City F.C, damaging the surface, and the incident is believed to have happened at a time between late last night and early this morning.

If you have any information about the incident, contact Nottinghamshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 167 of October 18.

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Vandals cause £1000 of pitch damage

Vandals cause £1000 of pitch damage: Members of Old Laurentian RFC and Old Laurentians Minis & Juniors have been left saddened after finding £1,000 of damage to their pitches.

On the night of Wednesday, October 9 – October 10, vandals caused around £1,000 of damage to two out of the three pitches on the site, off Lime Tree Avenue.

Vandals cause £1000 of pitch damage

The damage means that the hundreds of under 7s and under 12s players were facing not being able to play this weekend.

But Market Bosworth RFC kindly offered the use of their facilities this weekend – and until the pitches can be brought back up to standard.

Kevin Vince, chairman of the Minis and Juniors branch of the club, told the Advertiser: “Volunteers put a lot of time and effort over the summer to get these pitches to the point they are possibly the best in the county.

“And then some little scumbags come onto the pitch and cause £1,000 worth of damage in one night – we’ve been set back by months.

“I would be saying to them, ‘if you’re big enough and brave enough to cause this damage, why don’t you come up and explain to hundreds of children why they can’t play rugby on their pitches this weekend? But they won’t, because they’re cowards’.

“For a lot of the children, this is the highlight of their week.

“This mindless act of vandalism has achieved nothing. For a quick fix of laughs they have disappointed hundreds of kids.

Mr Vince praised the rugby-playing community and the residents of the town for their kind responses.

He said: “The rugby-playing community has come together with loads of people offering to help in whatever way they can, and the local community is helping out and checking CCTV.

Mr Vince said the club’s hundreds of members are all intent on catching the vandals so the police can deal with them.

He said: “Our club, when you include the families, is over 800 strong. We’re all listening and eventually one of us will hear something.

“Everyone is disgusted with this act of mindless vandalism, but we’re going to come back even stronger as a club.”

Andrew Spriggs, chairman of Old Laurentian RFC, said: “Since the incident our volunteers have been working hard to undo the damage.

“One contractor dropped everything they were doing and drove up from the Cotswolds to help.

“It’s disappointing – we try to be open to the community and encourage our neighbours on Lime Tree Avenue to come and use the grounds walk their dogs.

“We don’t want to close the grounds off to sensible people, but we are looking at having security posts and CCTV installed to deter anything like this from happening again.

“The response from the community has been marvelous.

“We’re hoping the pitches can be repaired next week.”

Mr Spriggs said there has already been some CCTV unearthed which could help with the investigation.

“We’re all going to do everything we can to see that these people are caught and brought to justice,” he added.

A spokesperson for the club took to Facebook, stating: “We have a team of volunteers who work tirelessly to keep our wonderful pitches in top condition and the impact of this will affect every single one of our players.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Warwickshire Police on 101, quoting crime ref 23/42725/19.

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Willingdon GC targeted by vandals

Willingdon GC targeted by vandals: Vandals took a spade to greens at Willingdon Golf Club in an ‘extreme’ and ‘premeditated’ attack this week.

Course manager Luke Turner described it as the “worst vandalism” he’d experienced in his decade at the club, and says it could take until spring to fully repair the damage.

Willingdon GC targeted by vandals

Course manager Luke Turner described it as the “worst vandalism” he’d experienced in his decade at the club, and says it could take until spring to fully repair the damage.

He said, “We put in a lot of work and time and effort into creating excellent surfaces and some person decides to come along and vandalise and create damage.

“This is about the most severe I’ve seen in 10-11 years. It’s very extreme and premeditated.”

Luke said someone had cut a hole in a fence and taken a spade or shovel and dug up large areas of three greens, at about 4-5 square metres wide.

“They have come equipped to do it,” he said, “They have walked a considerable distance, almost a kilometre.

“It took about 25 hours to get the surfaces repaired enough to play on again. To get it back to the required high standard it will take most of the winter and into the spring.”

So far it has cost around £1,500 to repair the damage, and has put teams behind schedule.

Luke said, “It affects our visitors and members that come to play here. We work so the greens are in fantastic condition all year round. The amount of work that goes into repairing mindless vandalism…”

A post on social media has received a lot of support from the public, he said,

It said, “It really is difficult to understand some people. This morning we have been greeted by the worst vandalism I’ve experienced.

“Sorry for the disruption to the regular course… it is going to take time to fix this.”

The incident happened overnight on Wednesday, between the hours of 10pm and 5.30am.

If you have any information, contact police online or on 101.

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Manager Praises Departing Groundsman

Manager Praises Departing Groundsman: Manager Danny Grainger has praised departing Workington Reds groundsman Jeff Curwen after the stalwart ended his 16-year association with the club.

The shock news was revealed on Monday that Curwen, 78, is stepping down.

Manager Praises Departing Groundsman

If Reds had moved to Derwent Park this summer, it was Curwen’s intention to step down. But after the collapse of the new stadium project, he continued in the role, with the proviso he would depart at the end of the 2019/20 season.

Curwen, though, has this week instead opted to leave his position with the current NPL North West Division leaders with immediate effect. Dennis Rossi will fill the void left by Curwen.

“I worked closely with Jeff over the summer. I went over and helped him out as much as I could,” said former Carlisle United captain Grainger.

“He is someone who has played a vital role in terms of how well we have done in the opening part of the season. He is someone that is vital to the club and we can’t thank him enough for the services that he has brought to the club.

“As the statement on the club website said, they are unsociable hours that Jeff is doing, and the amount of hours he has put in can’t be appreciated enough by us.

“He is someone I think very highly of and I can’t thank him enough for making me feel welcome when I came through the door.”

And Grainger, from Eamont Bridge, near Penrith, admits the work volunteers, like Curwen, do for the club is hugely important.

“The volunteers at the club and the people behind-the-scenes are working tirelessly,” Grainger admitted.

“I go as much as I can, to see the guys and the people working behind-the-scenes. At times, it’s unbelievable how many people are there, mucking in, making sure the ground and the club is alright for a matchday.

“People behind-the-scenes go unnoticed at times, but they are the type of people who help the club go forward.”

On the field, meanwhile, Reds are due to travel to Marske United this Saturday as they aim to extend their lead at the top of the table and build on last weekend’s 5-1 home success over Ramsbottom United.

Grainger, who gave his players a night off training yesterday, says he has thrilled with how Workington have started the season.

“As a group of staff, we have set ourselves targets and we want to keep hitting them,” he said.

“On Saturday, if we are being greedy, we could have won by even more. Speaking to some of their [Rambsottom’s] club representatives, they were saying that they felt they got away lightly on Saturday.

“It just shows how far the lads have come in a short space of time.”

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400 Up For Mant Family

400 Up For Mant Family: A son who followed in the footsteps of his dad by becoming head groundsman at Fontwell Park Racecourse is celebrating his 400th race meeting at the racecourse this weekend.

Paul Mant, who took over the role from dad Roger 16 years ago after learning the ropes and working alongside him for more than 20 years, has earned plaudits from leading jockeys including Richard Johnson for his work in making Fontwell one of the country’s most popular courses among jump jockeys.

400 Up For Mant Family

Paul, 54, first started working with his dad on the course as a schoolboy during the summer holidays – he even learned to drive a tractor at the age of 11 – and then as his assistant after leaving school in 1981.

However, it wasn’t until 2003 that he took over the reins from his dad, now 81, who retired after 44 years in the job. Between them they have now clocked up 60 years in charge of the famous figure-of-eight course.

Paul was born in one of only two houses built on the racecourse in 1959 where he still lives with son Aiden. He said: “I’ve been lucky enough to have been part of Fontwell Park all of my life and fortunate to have learned the ropes from my dad.

“I guess I picked up lots of tips and hints on how to do things over the years from just following him around but I’ve developed my own way of doing it. I worked with him for over 22 years so I picked up quite a bit in that time.”

“I’ve only ever missed two race meetings since I became head groundsman. The first was when I was sent on a groundsman’s course and the second one was when Fontwell was given an extra race day during the season and I had already booked a holiday to Spain. I managed to find a bar that was showing it on the TV though!”

His preparations for this Friday and Saturday’s Oktoberfest meeting, one of the highlights of the racing calendar at Fontwell, include mowing the course every two days, which takes him up to four hours, and making sure all of the fences across course are in the best possible condition for jockeys, who he has developed friendships with over the years.

He added: “I always go into the weighing room after every race to and chat to the jockeys and I’ll be doing it this weekend. They will tell me if anything is wrong and what could be improved. They are the ones who put their bodies on the line so it’s important part of my job.”

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Vandals Leave Golf Green ‘Completely Shredded’

Vandals Leave Golf Green ‘Completely Shredded’: This was the scene of devastation left at a golf course after an off-road buggy was seen performing ‘doughnuts’ on the greens.

A section of the course at Prestwich Golf Club has been ruined after the act of vandalism, which took place at 4.40pm last Friday.

Vandals Leave Golf Green 'Completely Shredded'

It is believed someone managed to gain access to the golf club via a path from nearby Kersal Moor before driving across a green, fairway and teeing complex.

The course has been left badly damaged, with evidence of tyre marks and mounds of turf having been torn up.

Furious golf club bosses estimate it will cost them tens of thousands of pounds to repair the damage.

Police are investigating. No arrests have been made.

Golf course manager, Chris Harding, said: “The damage is horrendous, it has been completely shredded.

“It is going to cost a hell of a lot of money to repair.”

A major course remodelling, costing just shy of £1m is currently taking place at the club.

The work has been funded by a payment from a developer as part of an agreement to build 17 luxury homes on part of the old course.

Half the course has been closed since last September while contractors carry out work on the scheme, which will see 11 holes altered.

Mr Harding said the damaged section of course had only been laid down for three months and is yet to be played on.

It had been hoped that the course would be ready to play on by June, but the latest act of vandalism has proved a major setback to that schedule and has left members ‘gutted’.

“The club doesn’t deserve this,” said Mr Harding.

“There has been a good buzz about the place, but everyone is just feeling flat now.

“It’s heartbreaking after all the work and dedication that has gone into it.

“A lot of time and money has gone into building the course and making sure it is ready to play on.”

“It is going to take a lot of time and effort to get us back on schedule.”

A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police confirmed the force had received a report of the incident, adding: “The damage is believed to have been caused by an off-road four wheel drive vehicle that has been driven on the green.

“No arrests have been made at this stage and anyone with information should contact police on 101.”

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BASIS Seek Chair For Board Of Trustees

BASIS Seek Chair For Board Of Trustees: National charity BASIS is seeking to recruit a Chair for the Board of Trustees, starting in April 2020.

BASIS CEO, Stephen Jacob, explains the Chair will play a vital role in the running of the charity, that looks to support and develop the agricultural and associated industries with training and professional development.

BASIS Seek Chair For Board Of Trustees

“We’re looking for an experienced manager who can demonstrate being a team player, and potentially has experience of land-based or related industries, but this isn’t vital. It’s essential the candidate is independent and not involved in those industries which BASIS serves,” says Stephen.

“In total, the role requires a commitment of 20 to 40 days a year, including three Board meetings per annum.

“In addition, the Chair will be expected to attend the finance and remuneration committee and meet regularly with myself and other senior staff members,” he says.

The role may be fulfilled from any location in Great Britain, and as with all trustees of BASIS, the Chair will be appointed for an initial three-year term and may then, subject to annual Board approval serve up to four more years.

An honorarium will be paid along with reasonable out of pocket expenses for travel and accommodation.

BASIS current Chair, Chris Clarke will have successfully completed the maximum seven year term when he retires in 2020.

“Being Chair of the BASIS Board has been a very enjoyable role,” says Chris.

“As Chair, you get to work across various sectors and organisations who are represented on the Board of BASIS, across agriculture, horticulture, crop protection, crop nutrition and covering amenity and pest control.”

For an informal and confidential discussion to learn more about the position, please email Stephen Jacob on stephen@basis-reg.co.uk to arrange a mutually convenient time.

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Volunteers ‘Disheartened’ After Pitch Vandalism

Volunteers ‘Disheartened’ After Pitch Vandalism: Volunteers at an amateur football club have been left “disheartened” after vandals rode across their pitch on off-road motorcycles.

After going to check the pitch at Breightmet Wanderers’ Dolan Park on Sunday morning, a member of the club spotted long tyre trails across the turf.

Volunteers 'Disheartened' After Pitch Vandalism

The pitches, off Newby Road, have been left open to the public since the team took ownership of them around two years ago but club secretary Andy Fearnley said they might have to be closed off following the “frustrating” vandalism.

He said: “It’s something I don’t want to do because it’s there for the community to use but it’s just a shame when something like this happens. We’re looking at closing it to the public if we have to.”

The pitch is used by nine teams, with age groups from under 8s to 17s playing games at Dolan Park. It is kept in shape by a team of volunteers from the club.

Mr Fearnley explained that, while the damage to the pitch was not extensive, it has caused concern.

He said: “On Saturday we had three sets of teams playing there, the under 8s, 9s and 10s, so if this had happened a day before then all of the games could’ve been cancelled.

” It’s not a major amount to fix depending on the weather but it’s all voluntary so when you turn up and see this it’s awful.”

He added: “There’s a difficult balance between providing a maintained pitch for our players and appreciating the need for a local community outside area but this makes me want to put barriers up.”

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Police Appeal After Pitch Damage

Police Appeal After Pitch Damage: A Clitheroe sports pitch has been “cut to shreds” after a sneaky adult kickabout.

Now, the pitch will be closed for several days, while council groundsmen rectify the damage.

Police Appeal After Pitch Damage

Up to 12 adults were spotted turfing up at the Edisford Road pitch – one of five next to the car park – on Wednesday night. Police are investigating the incident.

The site was closed after heavy rain and the football kickabout caused significant damage to the pitch’s saturated grass surface.

Security chains holding the goals together were later found to have been removed by bolt-cutters.

Now the police and Ribble Valley Borough Council, which owns the site, are appealing for information in a bid to catch the culprits and recover repair costs.

Stuart Carefoot, chairman of Ribble Valley Borough Council’s community services committee, said: “A group of adults were spotted entering the site without permission and having an impromptu kickabout on a pitch that was rain-soaked.

“In doing so, the grass has been cut to shreds and the pitch rendered unusable. This thoughtless and selfish act means youngsters and authorised users will be prevented from using the pitch until the it is repaired. We are determined to catch the culprits and have reported the matter to the police.”

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Vandals Rip Up Furness GC

Vandals Rip Up Furness GC: Golfers have called on the community to ‘grass up’ the mindless vandals who caused a ‘hole’ lot of damage on their course.

Over the last two decades officials at Furness Golf Club on Walney have had to contend with regular incidents of criminal damage on the greens.

Vandals Rip Up Furness GC

These have ranged from someone using a pitchfork to leave a trail of holes across the course to fires being started in the gorse.

As a result the club has had to fork out thousands of pounds on repairs with the greenkeeper’s time spent painstakingly fixing the divots.

Greens chairman Jon Clarke said the club hopes the community will keep a close eye out for any culprits after the latest incident this week where wedges of turf had been pulled from the green.

“I can’t see what anyone would get out of it; it’s completely mindless and senseless,” he said.

“It’s been going on for the last 15 or 20 years; every year there’s been at least 10 examples of vandalism.

“We had one where it looked like somebody had gone across the green and used a pitchfork to put holes all over the place.

“Just four weeks ago the gorse was set on fire and it took 48 hours to put out. That’s not just a drain on our resources but also for the police and fire.”

Club members have spent hundreds of hours repairing the damage which also impacts on them indirectly through increased membership fees.

“It’s incredibly frustrating because all golf courses now are struggling to keep going and it is our members who end up having to pay for the repairs because we need to recoup the costs somehow,” Mr Clarke added.

Over the years club officials estimate they have spent half a million pounds repairing damage caused by vandals.

Every year maintenance of the course costs around £250,000.

Barrow Police have confirmed they are investigating reports of vandalism to the golf course.

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