The Pitch at Branch Road
This pitch is now being used for training and will be used for matches in the new season.
The ditch we cleared by the side of the pitch has had a dramatic effect on the surface. Combined with regular sweeping and cutting the improved drainage has resulted in a flat pitch with and even bounce, with a playable area of around 85 x 65 metres.
The spongy thatch remains a potential problem and we expect it will hold water close to the surface for a period after heavy rain. The pitch is likely to be unplayable for several weeks in the winter.
To combat this we have two strategies
1 – continued renovation of the pitch
2 – plan for use of other picthes in the local are – see the discussion of the use of Avondale School Field below
Everything becomes easier with more resources so we are continually fund raising. To see the latest news on our efforts you can check out our facebook channel at https://www.facebook.com/footballwithoutexception.
The Pitches and Pavilion at Sandy Lane
Anyone visiting Sandy Lane over the last couple of years will have seen some major changes.
The ground has been used by several local sports teams including Darwen Cricket Club, Junior Gardeners, Blue Star and Darwen Rangers JFC. The playing surface has always been excellent over most of the ground – flat and well drained, it is rare to see games at Sandy Lane called off for wet weather.
On the other hand, vehicular access and parking was not the best and the Pavilion had fallen into a state of disrepair. Parking on the grass had caused regular damage to the field.
We now have a car park for around 40 vehicles on hard standing. The Pavilion has been renovated, double glazing installed and it serves as the location of a very lively match and training day cafe. There is now a accessible toilet, an equipment storage area and a meeting room. We have installed security cameras on all sides of the building.
Plans for the future include continued improvement of the internal layout, addition of a heating system and external lighting.
The picthes will improve as we now have access to a new tractor and ground maintenance equipment.
Avondale School Field
We have recently come to an arrangement with Avondale school whereby we cut the grass and maintain their school field in exchange for use of the ground for training and matches.
This field was reconstructed over 10 years ago using an FA grant and so the playing surface is potentially one of the best in Darwen.