Takeley pitch in to resolve problems at Station Road ground
- Credit: Archant
Takeley Football Club has been carrying out work on its drainage system at Station Road in the hope of avoiding continued problems with their pitch.
Despite boasting one of the better playing surfaces in the Essex Senior League, the club finds itself with problems every winter when spells of wet weather leave the cly-based pitch struggling to cope.
With the first team, reserves and under-18s all sharing the same turf, the club are generally forced to postpone games in January and February, which then proves a challenge of fitting in those rescheduled fixtures in order to finish the season by early May.
The first team were left to play three or four matches per week during one particular campaign, which proved a disadvantage to their hopes, and it is more than 25 years since the pitch was mole drained.
The ground has been improved since, with perimeter fences and paths as the club has risen through the leagues and met requirements.
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And with the 2019/20 season cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, the club committee decided to try and fix the ongoing problem.
After looking at different options, they have decided to install a land drain system, which will hopefully give the best results for the longest period of time.
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The system involves excavating 1600 metres of trenches, which was carried out by a chain-trenching machine to minimise disturbance to the pitch to a depth of 600m, with shingle then laid into the trench to form a base to install perforated pipe, which carries water away from the playing surface.
More shingle is then placed over the pipes and the top of the trench is backfilled with soil for the grass to grow on.
As well as 1600m of pipe, the club used 140 tons of shingle, levelled by hand, which has taken three weeks to complete.
The two goalmouth areas have also been levelled by groundsman David Burnett and a small group of volunteers, aided by players and coaching staff at the weekends.
With uncertainty surrounding the immediate future of non-league football and the 2020-21 season at this point, the club hope that when they are able to return to playing matches, the pitch will have had time to recover and be able to withstand the rigours of any more wet winters.