Vandalism leaves sports teams struggling for venues as juniors train in a car park

MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/FAIRFAX NZ

Celtic under-12 rugby team practice despite vandalism.

It looks set to be a homeless few weeks for South Canterbury sports  teams.

Celtic rugby club and Pleasant Point football teams are facing time without training facilities and home grounds following recent vandalism.

On Monday morning, a vehicle ripped up Pleasant Point sports fields and cricket pitches adjacent to the town's domain.

The Celtic under-12 rugby team are gutted by vandalism to their fields, forcing them to move their games to other venues ...
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/FAIRFAX NZ

The Celtic under-12 rugby team are gutted by vandalism to their fields, forcing them to move their games to other venues - and to train in a car park.

On Tuesday, Celtic Sports Ground was vandalised for the second time in three years, in a similar manner to Pleasant Point.

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The damage left Celtic's senior side without a training field and the junior teams without a home ground.

The Pleasant Point Football Club's main ground which suffered extensive damage from vandals early Monday morning.
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/FAIRFAX NZ

The Pleasant Point Football Club's main ground which suffered extensive damage from vandals early Monday morning.

"We just have to find wherever we can. We might just have to use the St Pats Hall," senior manager Peter Cockburn said.

"It's the JAB kids I feel really sorry for they play and train there every week and are now without a place to play.

"Why couldn't they get a paddock somewhere instead of a sports field."

Celtic under-12 rugby players are gutted with what has happened to their fields, forcing them to move their games to ...
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/FAIRFAX NZ

Celtic under-12 rugby players are gutted with what has happened to their fields, forcing them to move their games to other venues. Pictured from left, Henry Scott, 11, Maika Mason, 11, George Clark, 12, Macgregor Rae, 11, and Innes Walker, 12.

JAB chairman Dan Gallagher said there was no chance of any teams using the grounds for at least the next fortnight.

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"Some of the kids could roll their ankles in divots so easily down there."

The under-11s will instead play at Waihi and the under-12s at Alpine Energy Stadium, after training in a 10 meter strip next to the car park.

Celtic sports ground grass which was ripped up by vandals.
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/FAIRFAX NZ

Celtic sports ground grass which was ripped up by vandals.

Gallagher said Turf Services will visit in the coming days, with the hope of doing some rolling on the grounds to hopefully get the fields back to a useable standard.

Celtic cricket club president Anthony de Joux said the club were "gutted".

"There's just nothing left of two pitches, they're completely destroyed."

The number one pitch, enjoyed by many teams as the most consistent for club cricket in the area, also suffered serious damage.

"There are rut marks across half the pitch and it's going to take a lot of work to fix it."

De Joux was expecting working hours on the fields and cricket pitches to quadruple in the coming months.

"We will have to raise funds for the repairs in some way."

Pleasant Point football coach Mike Otley said the club was "coming up with a bit of a plan". 

"It is highly unlikely we would be using the grounds this weekend and the next weekend."

The club had 18 football teams affected by the vandalism, he said. 

"It's just devastating."

Pleasant Point Football Club president Tom Shearer said the main field was "extensively damaged".

"They've done some job on it. I don't think we will be playing senior football on the ground for at least a month, I'll be very surprised if we do."

Shearer said the best thing about Point was that everyone lends a hand.

"We've already got people offering their services and machinery for us to use for free."

The club will have to fork out for a new goal, which was broken.

"Our junior fields aren't too bad. There's damage but they'll still play."

Clubs have come forward offering to swap matches until the fields are again up to scratch.

Pleasant Point Cricket Club club captain Cameron Lundie said the pitch had suffered damage and funds gained from fundraising would be used for the wicket if they needed to.

"It's a pain it just mean's other things will be delayed."

 - Stuff

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