Date: 6th February 2014 at 9:20am
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Torquay United again have fears with the weather that’s planned for the weekend that we may see another match postponement owing to those troublesome areas of the pitch that have seen both the Northampton and Burton Albion games abandoned owing to drainage issues in particular parts of the pitch.

Should Bury not make it through, it will be our third home postponement in recent weeks and the fears are now that the drainage pipes on the pitch could potentially have been damaged and have grown worse over time, since the construction of the Bristow’s Bench stand as that is a particular part of the pitch that has been previously referenced.

Groundsman Chris Ralph has been speaking to the Herald Express about the efforts that have been undertaken to try and ensure the game can go ahead, and he confirmed that the Bristow’s Bench and Popular Side areas of the pitch were waterlogged, but otherwise manager Chris Hargreaves was able to hold a training session on the rest of the playing surface as that was fine – but of course the Burton game was called off because of those areas.

‘The problems we are facing can’t be a coincidence. 90% of the pitch was playable.’

Ralph goes on to say that with the stand very close to the pitch there are benefits of that, but obviously the overhanging shade does cause an issue with pitch recovery and can lead to some drying issues normally, but with the weather as it has been, there is a tight connection to drainage so the worry is that during construction pipes may have been damaged and it’s just taken until now to really show it’s head.

‘If we’ve got collapsed drains there and on the Pop Side, and we may well have, it’s something we’ll have to tackle. It all costs money, but we made sure we did important work last summer and, although we’ve got a couple of bad areas at the moment, in general the pitch is better – and it should be better again next year.’

Chief Executive Andrew Candy was also quoted by the paper in terms of the knock on financial effect postponements have because it’s a source of real cash for the club, and ultimately bills don’t disappear so the money has to come from somewhere whether it be directors loans, chasing people who owe us money quicker or whatever.

He even jokes that he doesn’t believe our catering manager has ever seen such a stock of frozen meat in the freezers, saying he could feed a small army at the moment.

However, as it relates to the Bury game, the club will be doing their best to get an early decision from the Football League so all fans know what they are doing as early as possible if it does look like the game is going to be called off.