Village players given £850,000 pitch boost

By Mark Elson   |   Senior Reporter   |
Wednesday 18th October 2017 6:59 am
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RUGBY players at a village club will be able to get a kick out of their sport in any conditions thanks to

an £850,000 artificial pitch

Drybrook RFC, which dates back to 1893, has been identified as one of 60 clubs in England to receive all-weather pitch funding from the Rugby Football Union.

The RFU pinpointed the Forest as an area in need of more training facilities, and the new pitch will mean training sessions will be able to go ahead whatever the weather.

It could be installed next summer and the Forest’s football and rugby clubs will be able to hire it.

Jon Bendle, the South West’s RFU facilities manager told local club delegates at a meeting in Drybrook: “About 15 to 18 months ago, the RFU launched their artificial grass programme off the back of the World Cup.

“We recognised that pitches in that local area are massively over capacity. That basically means there are not enough pitches for the teams playing there.

“The Forest of Dean has been identified as being over capacity and having a lack of training provision.”

Meanwhile, fellow Forest club Newent RFC is hoping to install new floodlights for night games and on-pitch training, and has applied for planning permission for six 13-metre high steel columns to support eight floodlights each at its Watery Lane ground.

The club, which can trace its origins back to the early 1900s, says it needs state-of-the-art floodlighting to meet RFU requirements for match and training safety, as its current lighting is not up to the required standard.

A report to Forest planners says it aims to provide facilities for a much wider segment of the community, making the ‘time frame’ the facilities are available greater, from dusk until 10pm on weekdays and 7pm on weekends.

The floodlit pitch would allow evening training and matches to take place after dusk, relieving Sundays for young teams.

Newent RFC was reformed in 1970 and tasted Twickenham success in 2013 when they beat Baildon to lift the RFU Junior Vase in an eight-try triumph. It finished fifth last season in the Tribute South West 1 West League.

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