Pitch battle to get games on at the weekend

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FRUSTRATED footballers struggling to get a game because of poor pitches are hoping a council pilot scheme could be a winner.

Youth football chiefs faced with flooded and frozen grass pitches have been hacked off in recent months as all-weather astroturf pitches at St Ninian’s High School and Kirkintilloch High School have been left unused.

Lenzie Youth Club secretary Ian Stevenson’s squad recently had to travel to Kilsyth in order to play a fixture.

He said: “Our last two Sunday games were cancelled as the grass grounds controlled by East Dunbartonshire council were unplayable, despite the fact that two excellent 3g astro pitches at the schools were lying unused.

“The SFA have said it is their aim to have more astro pitches built to combat the very wet weather we get. Here we are with pitches already in place, but the local councillors can’t reach agreement to have them opened.

“Lenzie’s home pitch at Boghead has had two games played on the grass in the past four months, as the pitch is continually flooded. It is a very unsatisfactory situation.”

Last week council property chiefs revealed that they were looking at the situation and were awaiting the results of a pilot scheme in Bishopbriggs.

Grace Irvine, the council’s head of assets and property services, said: “East Dunbartonshire Council is aware there have been some enquires for Sunday football on the PPP schools’ all weather pitches.

“We are currently undertaking a pilot scheme granting access to the facilities at Bishopbriggs Academy until the summer, with selected dates.

“Following this, we will review the demand and discuss with the PPP contractor which options are available and the costs of these options in order to decide if it is possible to extend access to other selected schools.”

Mr Stevenson welcomed the news, adding: “It’s good that we are at least getting some movement. There’s no doubt there is a demand for this. The one astro pitch at Merkland, in Kirkintilloch, is hugely popular.”

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