Robins' grounds for concern on matches
By North Devon Journal | Thursday, July 14, 2011, 08:00
CONCERNS about the pitch at the Sports Ground have placed Bideford's pre-season fixtures in doubt.
The Robins are due to host Weston-super-Mare, of Blue Square Bet South, on Saturday (3pm).
They are determined for the match to go ahead but the poor state of the pitch means further games against Cullompton Rangers, Ivybridge Town and Launceston could be cancelled.
Contractors working for pitch owners Torridge District Council returfed the goalmouths at the end of last season.
But they have already been called back to re-lay the turf and further problems mean one goalmouth will need replacing again after the Weston game.
Roy Portch, the Bideford chairman, said: "The playing surface resembles a piece of wasteground. One of the goalmouths is shocking.
"We are going to go ahead with the Weston-super-Mare game as long as the referee allows but it's the games after that which are very doubtful.
"We don't know whether we can reverse the fixtures or whether we'll just have to let them go. Obviously it's costing the club vital revenue losing home fixtures but if we want it sorted we'll have to put up with it."
Torridge previously looked after the pitch and the Sports Ground was regarded as one of the finest non-league playing surfaces in the South West. However, it has been in the hands of contractors for the last four years and has deteriorated.
Portch said: "I don't think they know much about sports grounds. They returfed the two goalmouths but they just laid the new turf on top of the existing turf and it left two high spots. Then when they came back and returfed it, they didn't water it for a week."
Bideford began their pre-season programme with a 6-1 win at North Molton on Tuesday in a match that saw the first use of the home club's new floodlights.
After falling behind, the Robins hit back with goals from Ben Wood, Sean Downing, Kevin Squire, Neil Slateford, Nick Barker and Noah Keats.
Slateford, a forward who has previously played for St Austell, was one of several trialists in a squad of 19.
Keats, who had loan spells with Bideford and Barnstaple Town last season, has played for Exeter City.
Alex Jeannin, the French defender who has played for Exeter and Truro City, played alongside Darren Hawkings in the first half.
The fixtures for the Evo-Stik League Southern, originally due out yesterday, have been delayed until tomorrow.