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Why are matches being postponed at The Halcyon Wealth Longmead Stadium

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Angels Chairman explains what’s happening

Three matches have now been postponed at The Halcyon Wealth Longmead Stadium in recent weeks, two league games and a Kent Senior Cup Tie.

Whilst all of these fixtures will of course be re-arranged there is an obvious downside to the club’s cash flow since in the case of the two league games they will need to be played on a midweek night which usually means a lower attendance. 

Angels Chairman, Dave Netherstreet explains :-

I have been asked why matches are being postponed at the club when on looking at the pitch there appears to be nothing wrong with it.

The main reason is that in a referee’s opinion any pitch must be safe to play on.  It is nothing to do with the club secretary, the groundsman or the chairman as to whether or not a match is played and though we all have our opinions it is solely up to the referee.

The club is located in a low lying area of Tonbridge and part of it is designated a flood risk area by the Environment Agency.  This does make the pitch very susceptible to periods when there is excessive rainfall over a period of time because the river levels rise and surface water is unable to drain away through the drainage ditches.  When the water cannot drain away via the land drains under the pitch and more rain falls, the surface of the pitch becomes waterlogged and turns into what can only be described as a sodden area of mud which if played on will cause injury to players.

Whilst the surface of the pitch appears perfect, under the grass and topsoil there is a thick layer of clay which prevents the easy draining of water away into the land drains.  In normal circumstances any rainfall will drain from the pitch in 48 hours but unfortunately this year the south east has experienced nearly continuous rain since last November and there is nowhere for the water to drain to. 

Some areas of the pitch are worse than others and this could be due to the .  failure of the pitch drainage or to the historic construction of the pitch 40 years ago.   New underground pitch drainage is a possibility and this is being costed but the initial estimate is around £20,000.

As many of you will see the sports ground in the centre of town is still partially underwater and the Medway is flowing at full bore, so it will be sometime until the water levels return to normal ; all we can ask for is some dry weather. 

Dave Netherstreet 


Tonbridge Angels FC


Published Saturday 18th January 2020