Hawks battle to get pitch ready for big match

Baffins Milton Rovers found it tough against Portland. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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IT’S one of the toughest jobs in football and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

The groundsmen at Westleigh Park, home of Havant & Waterlooville – known as the Hawks – are working tirelessly to make sure the pitch is ready for tomorrow’s game.

Brothers L-R Darren and Martin Matthews clear water of the Hawks pitch with super soakers ahead of the big game against Gosport on Saturday.''Picture: Paul Jacobs (14425-2)

Brothers L-R Darren and Martin Matthews clear water of the Hawks pitch with super soakers ahead of the big game against Gosport on Saturday.''Picture: Paul Jacobs (14425-2)

And with a place at Wembley at stake in the FA Trophy tie against Gosport Borough, tensions are running high.

But with heavy rain forecast for most of today and showers tomorrow morning, the chances of the game going ahead are looking ever slimmer.

Hawks director Trevor Brock says they will ‘move heaven and earth’ to get the tie on.

‘The game against Gosport is a massive game for us, not only because it’s a derby but because we will get a lot of money from it,’ said Mr Brock.

‘We have five groundsmen working on the pitch to get it back to the high standard it was when the season began.

‘As well as the groundsmen, we have the super soakers which will help. All we need is two consecutive days of sunshine and the pitch will be fine, but we haven’t had that for weeks.

‘It is hard to tell at this stage whether the game will go ahead because it depends on the weather but we will move heaven and earth to get the game on.’

Over the years, the Hawks have spent thousands of pounds on their pitch to raise it and make it a higher standard.

But Mr Brock said they don’t have enough money to look after it like Football League clubs do.

He added: ‘We can’t afford a dome like the bigger clubs have and I bet a lot of other games in the area will be called off.

‘The weather has made life extremely difficult in terms of fixtures and since the beginning of the year, we have had four home games called off.

‘We don’t need tired legs for the big matches so we need tomorrow’s game to go ahead.’

Tickets can be bought on match day.