Spennymoor Town have moved to address pitch issues at The Brewery Field following the postponement of their National League North fixture against Kidderminster Harriers earlier this month.
The game was called off with more than 24 hours until kick-off, sparking fears of another spate of season-disrupting postponements.
The Board of the club has set about investigating the issue and is confident that the pitch is now far more durable than it was two weeks ago.
Tony Wilson, managing director of the club, said: “We have understandably received many worried enquiries, bearing in mind that postponements arguably cost us a place in the National League North play-offs last season.
“I was surprised myself in the build up to the Kidderminster game at the pitch’s inability to deal with the rain we’d had and the management team of the club has been working constantly throughout December to investigate and resolve issues.
“We invested in new pitch irrigation at the start of the season, which we thought would have prevented a reoccurrence of last season’s waterlogging. But we’ve since uncovered more than one problem which was preventing the system from having an impact.
“Firstly, I’d like to dispel a rather peculiar rumour in circulation that there is a stream running beneath the ground. We’re in possession of a map of the area from the late 1800s and early 1900s that shows there was a stream nearby, but it forked either side of the ground with plenty of room to spare. This has not been a contributor.
“What we have found from taking a cross-section of the pitch is that historical treatment with large amounts of sand has created a dense layer between the pitch turf and the irrigation system, preventing effective drainage. The good news is that we’ve been able to rectify this using a verti-drain and make this layer porous, enabling the irrigation to do its job.
“Whilst we’ve done this before, it became apparent that a standard approach was not penetrating the dense layer and a more powerful method was needed. The bad news is that this will be required more than once and we’ll need to invest in the costly equipment required.
“In addition to this, we’ve decided to invest in further irrigation beneath and around the pitch, to divert water away and into the local drainage system.
“Finally, we’ve been surprised by the sheer volume of water that we’re draining away. I’m currently liaising with Northumbrian Water, who have been most helpful. We are currently chemically testing the run-off water to determine whether it has come from drinking water being transported by Northumbrian Water and, hence, whether there are any nearby leaks. The results of this are imminent.
“In the interest of preventing water reaching the pitch in the first place, the club is investing in new, state-of-the-art pitch-covers, which will further protect the pitch and be easier to use than our current options. This is being installed this year.
“The most important message from this announcement is that we have made significant improvements thanks to the investigation over the last couple of weeks. The pitch is more durable than ever before; and this will increase further upon the completion of our work with Northumbrian Water.”
Spennymoor’s next home game is against Stockport County at 7:45pm on Tuesday, December 11.