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Bishop's Stortford Rugby Club to carry out pitch repairs after receiving £10,000 from Sport England's Community Emergency Fund

Bishop's Stortford will be able to carry out essential repairs on their pitches in readiness for the new rugby union season after receiving £10,000 of National Lottery funding.

The National League 1 club has been successful in its application for a share of Sport England's £20m Community Emergency Fund, part of its support package to help the sport and exercise sectors get through the coronavirus crisis.

The five-figure award will enable Stortford to do improvement work on their playing surfaces at Silver Leys ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, when it is hoped all players, from the minis up to the first team, girls and ladies, will be able to return to action.

Nine years ago, a major exercise was carried out at Silver Leys, at a cost of £120,000, to improve drainage on pitches. It was necessary to avoid matches and cancel training as a result of the surfaces becoming waterlogged and unplayable during winter months.

A series of lateral drains was laid across the pitches and connected to a main drain to take away all the water. However, the surface above the drainage has sunk with time, particularly during the drought of last summer, to produce an uneven and undulating surface to the point of it becoming almost dangerous to players.

Remedial work, for which the funding has been awarded by Sport England, is essential as a duty of care to the players is paramount among the club's objectives. The work will involve filling the dips with soil, compacting, seeding and fertilising, which is all labour intensive.

An area of the Bishop's Stortford pitch requiring attention at Silver Leys (34525385)
An area of the Bishop's Stortford pitch requiring attention at Silver Leys (34525385)

"As the body responsible for the growth of sport and physical activity participation, we want the vital grassroots organisations that make sport and physical activity happen in this country to not just come through this crisis but to be in a position to thrive again in the future," said Sport England chief executive Tim Hollingsworth.

"The £20m Community Emergency Fund, made possible by National Lottery players, is part of a multi-million-pound package of support we are providing to ease the pressure on a huge number of the organisations who are central to the nation's health and well-being.

"We are proud to be able to provide vital funding to Bishop's Stortford RFC to help it through these extremely challenging times."

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