Drainage issues force postponements at Giffnock football pitch

Huntly playing fields in Giffnock have been unplayable almost as often as they have been playable.
Huntly playing fields in Giffnock have been unplayable almost as often as they have been playable.

A Giffnock football pitch was deemed unplayable almost every second weekend last year.

Teams playing at Huntly playing fields were let down on 21 weekends throughout 2017.

All of East Renfrewshire’s grass pitches experienced higher levels of closures than the previous year.

But Huntly’s call-offs more than tripled from 2016 as a series of draining issues put a stop to play.

Graham Vance, president of the East Renfrewshire Soccer Development Association, has called on more facilities to be made available.

He said: “I think East Renfrewshire could benefit from extra facilities but we’re obviously aware of the budgetary restraints.

“We have just started dialogue with the council’s parks department and the culture and leisure trust to see if we can use the pitches more effectively.

“It’s not easy. I think that the council does everything it needs to do to try and get the pitches on.

“There has been one change where they used to inspect the pitches on the Saturday but they now do it on a Friday afternoon.”

Eaglesham playing fields had the second highest number of weekend call-offs, with nine last year. That was followed by Crookfur, with eight and Muirend with seven.

Netherlee and Overlee’s playing fields were shut down on six weekends with Kingston playing fields and Cowan Park closed five times.

East Renfrewshire Council have confirmed they will carry out work to improve drainage at Huntly.

A spokesman said: “We closely monitor and maintain all our pitches to try to ensure they are playable as often as possible for local sports teams.

“In the last year the pitches at Huntly have been affected by prolonged periods of wet weather and plans are now in place to carry out maintenance work, as soon as conditions allow, in an attempt to rectify the drainage issues.

“Whilst these pitches have been unavailable for large periods in recent months, we have still been able to support the needs of local sports teams in finding alternative options for them to use.”

In July last year Barrhead Youth Football Club had to shut down its synthetic pitch at Cowan Park following a series of incidents.

Vandals set fire to sections of the pitch, damaged goalposts and left broken glass scattered around. That left the pitch out of bounds for weeks last summer.

East Renfrewshire Council is currently overseeing work to demolish and clear the former Barrhead High School site on Aurs Road.

As part of that project a new running track, sports pitch and skate park are expected to be in place by the end of the year.