Wayne Want, manager of New Road under-14s, cutting the long grass
You’ve heard of a game of two halves?
Festival Playing Fields has housed a pitch of two halves for the last fortnight, much to the annoyance of the club which plays there.
Daren Harrison, chairman of New Road FC, has criticised Swale council for failing in its duty to keep the grass in good condition at the Sheerness ground.
A spokesman for the council blamed fungi rings, which cause “accelerated” growth.
Mr Harrison claimed it almost led to the postponement of an under-14s match on Sunday despite the season having only just kicked off.
He said: “The council’s contractors are supposed to come every two weeks and cut the pitch, but when we looked last week, they’d only done the perimeter.
“On our 11-a-side pitch, the grass was 3 to 4ins long in some parts and bald as an eagle in the goalmouths.
“It’s a trip hazard and a danger to teams playing on it.”
Mr Harrison, who has run the club for four years, said he warned the council the game might have to be cancelled on Friday.
He said he was told contractors had driven by the ground during the week and assessed it as “looking okay”.
Mr Harrison said: “I’m really angry. Pitches shouldn’t be unplayable at this stage of the season.”
To ensure the game went ahead, Mr Harrison and two club members took a petrol mower to the pitch on Saturday.
He said it took five hours of back-breaking preparation to trim the longest grass and get the field ready.
Unfortunately, the hard work didn’t pay off as New Road’s under-14 youngsters lost their Medway Messenger League game 5-2 the following day.
The club is in the process of taking over the running of the ground from the council.
Mr Harrison, 43, from Nautilus Drive, Minster, who is a self-employed mechanic, said: “I haven’t really got the time to spend my Saturdays cutting grass.”
A Swale council spokesman, said: “New Road football fields contains patches of fungi rings which causes these areas of grass to grow at an accelerated rate, therefore some areas of the field will appear to have longer grass patches.
“We will monitor these areas to ensure the grass is cut when required.”