Eagles grounded as clubs count cost of storms

8:00pm Friday 13th December 2013

By Ian Whiting

Eccleshill United were the worst-hit local club when the weather wreaked havoc last week.

Strong winds caused problems across the country, with the Eagles suffering damage to one of their floodlight pylons, which meant they could not play at home.

They had to stage last weekend’s league fixture at Liversedge’s ground and their midweek cup tie at Thackley.

United’s football chairman Adrian Benson said: “Getting our ground back is a priority and it will be sorted but these things take time.”

The Eagles are away this weekend and have a free midweek following that.

Conference North outfit Guiseley were not spared by the vicious winds and had to put together a task force of volunteers to clear up so last Saturday’s fixture at home to Boston could go ahead.

One of their main jobs was recovering the home dugout, which had blown over the perimeter fencing. It had come to rest between the barriers and the match day office on the cricket field side of Nethermoor.

There was minimal damage at most of the local grounds but Silsden and Brighouse Town were badly hit. There were roof tiles and other debris on the playing surface at the Cobbydalers’ ground but nothing structural.

Town were also fortunate that the damage was not severe enough to affect their safety certificate so they did not have to reschedule and games.

Brighouse chairman Ray McLaughlin said: “Some of us were up at the ground most of Saturday morning clearing up after the storm. The pitch was heavy but playable, until those big showers at lunchtime left standing water on it.

“Our home dugout had blown over as well so we had to refit that but we didn’t have the problems Eccleshill had.

“Floodlights blowing over is a killer at our level, especially at this time of year when you need them for Saturday 3pm kick-offs so maybe we got off lightly this time.”

McLaughlin’s sentiments will be echoed at seven of the area’s other non-league clubs. Eccleshill were not so lucky.

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