BUXTON Rugby Club officials have been driven to despair by mindless vandals who have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to the playing surfaces.
The damage occurred overnight on January 15/16 when several vehicles were driven over all three pitches. The club’s drainage system was also damaged.
Club vice chairman Fraser Mitchell said the team were only around half-way through the season, and now have a run of scheduled home games.
“The first pitch is unplayable. We will have to review pitches two and three and if we can’t use them for any reason, we would have to look at possibly changing venues (for team fixtures).
“This will impact on people from the under-sevens and under-eights right through to the Colts, the senior team and the University of Derby college students who also use the facilities here.”
And the club have suffered a double disappointment after they were given the honour of hosting a top competition at the Sunnyfields ground, which could now be in doubt.
“The Derbyshire Cup finals are due to be held here towards the end of April/May and we’re now having to look at possible alternatives,” Fraser added.
“We’ve spent a long time looking after the grass and were very pleased at how well we’d done with it, it’s probably the best it’s been in years.”
Once the snow has melted, and the pitch has drained, club officials will be able to assess the extent of the damage and decide how best to rectify it. But it’s going to be a lengthy and expensive process, putting pressure both financially on the club, and also causing problems for the local community who use the facilities.
“It is a real spanner in the works,” Fraser said. “Realistically I think we are looking at probably three weeks to a month until the ground is in a condition where we won’t cause any more damage by getting on there (and doing the work).
“I coach the under-nines/under-tens and when you stand there and these lads are putting into practice something that you’ve taught them, something that they’ve learned, it is worth far more than money but ultimately the club doesn’t run on thin air. Membership helps but we will have to have a serious think about what to do now.”
And Fraser, who said the damage could run into thousands of pounds, added that the mindless nature of the damage goes against many of the things youngsters at the club are taught. “We have a set of core values, sportsmanship, fair play, respect, all those things. They are life skills these kids learn that can be taken off the pitch.
“It is just the senseless nature of it (the vandalism). They’ve used the club like a rally cross circuit.”
Anyone who can help with the repairs should contact Fraser by emailing email@example.com.
Derbyshire Police are investigating. Anyone with information should contact the Buxton Safer Neighbourhood Team on 101.