Following the latest in a string of postponed fixtures at Oaklands Park, Chichester City chairman Andy Bell has issued the following statement on issues with the playing surface:
The club would like to give some insight to the recent problems with matches being postponed. Obviously there has been a much larger, widespread cancellation of games this season due to the increased rain. This can’t always be helped due to standing water.
As anyone who has been to Oaklands Park recently will be aware of, we have been struggling with one area of the pitch that will not drain. We have spoken to previous groundsman and they have never experienced the problem in this area before. There has been a lot of building work in the surrounding area of the club recently and this patch has seemingly happened at the same time.
There has always been talk of an underground stream through the pitch but we have never experienced it. Last week we core drilled 150mm wide holes at 1m deep to explore the problem and they were surprisingly dry. We have therefore put in 40no 150mm core holes and filled them with shingle in the problem area.
We are hoping that this will solve the problem in the long-term but unfortunately following the additional rain and playing damage from Saturday it will take a few days to recover and start working.
We appreciate visiting clubs not making an issue of this and playing on a challenging surface and are continuing to work on the pitch today and later this week. We fully expect the issue to improve from this point onwards.