Aymes left frustrated by pitch problems

Former Pompey captain Brian Howard

When brutal January blues devastated Pompey

The Hawks' general stadium manager Adie Aymes admits he has been left frustrated by West Leigh Park's pitch problems in recent weeks.

Last night's Blue Square South clash against league leaders Braintree Town became the latest casualty of a waterlogged playing surface.

The situation hasn't been helped by a collapsed drain under the pitch, which the club is working hard to repair.

'It has been very frustrating because there are parts of the pitch which are absolutely perfect,' said Aymes. 'There is a problem, however, in the area where a drain has collapsed.

'We investigated and there are a lot of stones inside the drain, making it hard for the water to get away.

'Just before Christmas we tried to get the drain jetted but the company got the hose stuck in there.

'So we had to dig out the hose, and going further down the line we found lots and lots of little passages also blocked by stones.

'Once the water is in the ground and it freezes it has got nowhere to go.

'We are going to have another go at jetting out the stones, and hopefully it will help alleviate the problem.

'The pitch was originally laid on a watercress meadow so the drainage wasn't great at the best of times.

'But with a lot of hard work we turned it into one of the best playing surfaces in our league.

'It can be a fantastic surface but the weather and the drains has given us a problem at this moment in time.'

On a brighter note for the ex-Hampshire cricketer, he has been involved in overseeing a complete refurbishment of the West Leigh Park facilities.

The ground has been transformed and it is now a fantastic facility for the local community.

'The new membership scheme is doing very well and it has made a huge difference,' he said.

'For a small annual fee, individuals can become members and get lots of discounts.

'We have all sorts of events happening – from comedy to bands and a Burns night on Saturday.

'The community has taken to it and we are very pleased with the outcome.

'Starting next week, we will be doing food at lunch-times, right through the week.

'The club and the football support each other, but postponements don't make life any easier.'

The Hawks face an ever-increasing fixture backlog and they are now working hard at making sure Saturday's home game against Boreham Wood takes place.

'A few days of dry weather would help a lot,' said Aymes.

The Hawks' Hampshire Senior Cup tie against Eastleigh, which has been postponed four times already, has been rearranged for next Monday at the Silverlake Stadium.