Cromer FC step up their pitch battle

Cromer Town have secured some specialist help in their battle to make their Cabbell Park pitch playable again.

The Crabs haven't had a genuine home fixture since the middle of November, with their recent Norfolk Senior Cup replay against Diss Town having to be switched to Holt after numerous postponements.

A mixture of rain, frost and snow hasn't helped the situation – but ongoing drainage problems are at the root of the problem, with a small section of the playing surface preventing matches from going ahead as planned.

Club officials have tried tackling the issue themselves with limited success – and have now called in a specialist company in an attempt to get their season back on track.

'It has been really frustrating for everyone connected with the club,' said secretary Richard Cox. 'Most of the pitch is fine, it's just a small section in one of the corners that is causing us difficulties.We tried digging up some of the carpark and putting in some trenches near the problem area but the pitch is still very wet. Now we have decided to bring some experts in to see if they can help us. The company are currently working at the golf club so the equipment is on hand and hopefully they can find a solution.'

The Crabs addressed the issue on Saturday by switching their Reserve game to the Cromer Academy, with the fixture going ahead as planned, but the venue wouldn't meet the standards required for Anglian Combination Premier Division fixtures.

Fortunately Cromer are away on Saturday, with league leaders Acle United providing the opposition in a key game, and Cox is hoping that Cabbell Park will be playable by the time they come to host Kirkley and Pakefield Reserves on February 23.

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There is also the small matter of a home Norfolk Senior Cup semi-final against Norwich City Under-21s to consider – and officials are determined to do everything in their power to ensure that prestigious fixture goes ahead in the town.

'We are still awaiting an official date for that one because of Norwich City's involvement in the FA Youth Cup but it goes without saying that we want it to be played in Cromer,' said the club secretary,

'It's one of the biggest games we've had for a long time and I am sure we would get a big crowd in so let's hope we can sort the problems out before then.'

Following the postponement of Saturday's scheduled trip to Mattishall Cromer still have 18 league fixtures to fit in between now and the beginning of May as they chase a third successive Sterry Cup success – but as it stands at present the club are confident they can cope.

'At the moment I'd say it was hectic – but manageable,' said Cox. 'A lot depends on the weather.'

The problems with drainage come against a backdrop of continuing uncertainty about the club's future at Cabbell Park. There remain plans to move the Crabs' home to elsewhere in the park or to another ground entirely


– as part of a scheme to relocate the town surgery to an area of the current ground.

Meanwhile Sheringham's scheduled trip to St Andrews was another of the Premier Division matches that fell foul of the weather on Saturday.

The Shannocks play host to Kirkley and Pakefield Reserves on Saturday while fellow strugglers North Walsham, who were hammered 6-1 at home by high-flying Blofield at the weekend, have a crunch game at Loddon, one of the sides they could conceivably catch if they win their games in hand.

In Division One Holt, boosted by their 1-0 derby win over Aylsham, travel to Watton while the side they beat are at Long Stratton.