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News Quickies

Moving the goalposts

Screwfix Direct Western League team, Shepton Mallet were unable to fulfil their home fixture against Minehead the other night as someone had stolen the goalposts.

Club manager Shane Smith said "They were there after training on Thursday night, but when the Groundsman came to cut the grass the next morning he quickly realised they weren't there anymore."

Shepton were also expected to cancel tomorrow's reserve team fixture because it will take up to 10 days for the replacement goals to arrive.

Smith said "It will cost us around £800 to replace them, and that's a lot of money for us to find, to help fund it, the first team will run in the Shepton Mallet Fun Run on Sunday week, otherwise it will come out of my budget," said Smith.

All is not lost though as there may be a lead about the disappearing goalposts, "After training the other night we have a vague idea who the thief might be," said Smith. "The police have been furnished with information."

If anybody has any idea about the goals disappearance please contact the club direct.

Northants lose points for bad pitch

Northamptonshire beat the Frizzell Championship Division Two winners Worcestershire at Wantage Road this weekend but were then deducted eight points by an ECB pitch panel.

Three hours after the last wicket fell, the ECB panel ruled that the playing strip was 'poor' and Northamptonshire would have eight points deducted.

This means that Northants will suffer a 12-point penalty if they prepare another 'poor' or 'unfit' strip within the next 12 months.

Tony's pride and joy wins award

Groundsman,Tony Gwilliam takes great pride in looking after the special conservation area created at St Peter's Church, in Powick.

It has won the Special Conservation Award in Worcestershire Best Kept Churchyard competition.

More than 40 churches in the county entered the Best Kept Churchyard competition, organised jointly by the Worcester branch of the Council for the Protection of Rural England and the Worcestershire Federation of Women's Institutes.

Remedial action

This years long hot summer has been a nightmare for the Steve Birks, the Head Groundsman at Trent Bridge, Nottinghamshire's cricket ground.

The only reason why the pitches seem to have escaped official penalties has been out of sheer sympathy for his predicament. The square is long overdue a reconstruction and the biggest problem is a shearing of the top inch of loam from the lower subsoil.

This has caused the surface to crack quickly leaving Steve with little option to hold it together other than to add moisture. The softening of the strip caused the ball to make indentations which later hardened causing erratic bounce.

With the season finished, Steve now hopes to use a 'deep-drilling' technique which will fix the Test and one-day strips without having to reconstuct the whole square immediately. The drill and fill machine will put around 10,000 holes into each strip about half an inch in diameter and six inches deep, before loam is rammed into each one.

"We've looked at all the options and this is one of four different methods, including some complete relaying, that we will try on various strips. We'll get there somehow," says Steve.

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Contact Kerry Haywood

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