Fringe Box



Stoke Park’s Waterlogged Pitches Puts Sport On Hold

Published on: 7 Feb, 2014
Updated on: 7 Feb, 2014

By Maria Rayner

This winter’s heavy rainfall is not only affecting rivers and riverside properties, it’s also causing disruption to sports, particularly those played at Guildford’s Stoke Park.

Water, water everywhere and not a pitch to play on at Stoke Park.

Water, water everywhere and not a pitch to play on at Stoke Park.

Since the new year the pitches have been unplayable with some teams from the resident clubs training away. Guildfordians mini rugby players have travelled to Haslemere.

Damian Pritchard, a rugby dad, said: “The season when we first got involved was wet and miserable. However, this last month is unprecedented regarding pitches and water, in my 13 years of experience with mini rugby.”

Guildford Borough Council isn’t too alarmed about the state of the pitches, despite this being the wettest winter since records began, and says they will recover as soon as the weather improves. Although a member of the parks team admitted that “everything was completely waterlogged”.

Another spokesman said: “We are keeping up to date with the weather forecasts, making regular pitch inspections so that we can make the most accurate judgement regarding the fitness of pitches and the safety of players and letting teams know as early as possible. Details are also put on the council’s website, facebook and twitter.”

All of the grass pitches are currently closed, which includes rugby, football and the lacrosse pitches used by nearby Guildford High School. However, the council’s website and Facebook pages haven’t been updated with this information since January 17.

Muddy conditions are familiar to Stoke Park. During the rainy Guildfest of 2012 the area was described as a “quagmire” and “sticky bog” by organiser Tony Scott. Parts of the green space have yet to recover which could explain the council’s caution over allowing the pitches to be used.

Can you remember a worse season for winter sports? What is your club doing to beat the rain? We’d love to read your weather- and sport-related stories, please share them with The Guildford Dragon NEWS.

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