Haverhill Rugby Club’s main pitch is to be relaid and have batter drainage installed in a project costing just under £120,000.
The project is the biggest at the Castle Playing Fields ground since the club house was built in the mid 1990s, but it is just one part of what is currently a progressive period in Haverhill RFC’s history.
The club’s vice chairman, David Halsey, has secured £115,000 from the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and an unnamed third party over the past six months, with the club itself putting in the final £4,172 required.
He said: “This project will be one of the biggest the club has undertaken in 15 years or longer.
“Once complete we will have a far superior pitch then we ever had and it will be something every member of the club will be proud of.”
The need to improve the pitch arose the West Suffolk Playing Pitch Strategy, which involved the club’s landlord, St Edmundsbury Council, the RFU and other parties.
Water would regularly have to be swept off the playing surface and flints removed before the pitch was playable.
Mr Halsey explained more, saying: “Because there are a lot of pot holes as well, which we raised with the council last season, we had players going over because of the unevenness of it and that was bought to the attention of the council.”
Fortunately, no serious injuries have been suffered due to the condition of the pitch, added Mr Halsey.
The work to improve it should start before July and will mean the pitch and embankment have to be fenced off, leading to a request from Mr Halsey for dog walkers to be ‘respectful’ of the work and stay outside the fencing.
The project will involve the pitch having the top layer removed before it is ploughed, levelled, de-stoned, fertilised, have worm suppressor added, be re-seeded and have 660 tonnes of sand and 136 tonnes of topdressing to give it a 50mm top level.
New drainage will be installed either on the diagonal or cross sections, depending on the current drainage and be deep and back filled with gravel with the waste soil from the pitch placed on the embankment to level the area, which will be landscaped and re-seeded.
Work on the pitch is anticipated to be done before the end of July and once done the pitch will be out of action until August 2017 to allow it to be established and bedded in through two growing seasons.
During that time the club will play its league games on one of the two neighbouring pitches.
Such are the progressive times at the club, it has also now had a second team re-entered into the Greene King IPA Eastern Counties League, where it will compete in Division Three West.
The first team will continue in Division Two west, where it has finished fourth in the past two seasons.
With its second XV now accepted into the league, Haverhill is looking to recruit more players and would welcome potential players of all ages and abilities to attend its training sessions.
Senior training starts on Tuesday, June 28 and runs from 7pm to 9pm. It will be held every Tuesday between those times over subsequent weeks.
Youth training takes place from 6pm to 7pm on Wednesdays, starting on June 29, with junior training, aged six plus, held each Sunday from 10.30am to 11.30am, as of September 4.