Cromer Town says car park not to blame for pitch problems

A leading Norfolk football club says its waterlogged ground problems are not linked to an overflow hospital car park built next to the pitch.

Cromer Town's bid to keep its hands on the Anglian Combination title are on hold until the weekend, after last night's crunch must-win match at home to Loddon was called off following a morning inspection at the Cabbell Park ground.

It is now due to be staged next Friday evening (May 18, 7.30pm) with the Crabs having to win to leapfrog Acle and take the Sterry Cup championship silverware.

A traditional end-of-season Lifeboat Cup charity final raising funds for the local RNLI, which was due to take place on Sunday, has now also been put off, until August 27, for the same pitch problem reasons.

Speculation was rising that the soggy pitch, which also saw Cromer switch last weekend's home game to Holt, was due to the addition of a hard surfaced car park at the ground – built as a temporary overspill for the hospital across the road during its �15m rebuild.

But club general manager Les Frary said that had proved not to be the case – and it was just down to amount of recent rainfall proving too much for the ground, which does suffer with occasional waterlogging problems.

'We all thought it was the car park's fault too, but we dug a trench between it and the pitch – but found the problem was the pitch –- and the amount of water we have had in a short time – not the car park,' he explained.

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'We have heard other properties around are suffering the same problems,' he added.

Plans are being mooted to relocate the club further back on Cabbell Park to resolve a wrangle over its lease, and action a bid by the nearby doctors' practice to build a new surgery on the roadside section.

The pitch would then be on an even lower lying piece of ground, but Frary said if such a move – which is still in the melting pot – happened, the club would insist on drainage works being installed.

Lifeboat cup chairman Derek Hinds said the long postponement of the charity final to August was unavoidable as pitches became unavailable in the summer.

'You cannot take the final out of Cromer. We are hoping the weather will be good on the Bank Holiday Monday and people will turn out in force,' he added.

The cup has raised �30,000 for lifeboat funds over the past 15 years.

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