Ireland August 8, 2008

Music concert leaves Ulster club homeless

The destroyed outfield at Dungannon Park © Dungannon CC

A club in Ulster have had their entire season wiped out because of a music festival which left their ground at Dungannon Park unusable.

Dungannon CC use a council-owned pitch, and last weekend the local authority agreed to the staging of UTV CountryFest, attracting almost 10,000 spectators. But heavy rain had left the outfield sodden, and lorries used to construct the various stages to host the bands churned up the outfield and left it an unusable mudbath.

The concert organisers did erect fencing round the square, but for access to the stage area they drove over the outfield. “It looks like a ploughed field with an oasis of the square in the middle,” a club official told Cricinfo. “It didn’t take a lot … a car would have done considerable damage but they were using lorries.”

Dungannon now face having to forfeit their remaining home games which will almost certainly mean them being relegated from the Northern Cricket Union league. More worrying is that the outfield is in such a bad state that it needs leveling and then reseeding. Club officials fear that even if this work is undertaken now the ground might still not be ready for the start of next season.

Dungannon is a close-knit club and hope that they will not lose players because of their inability to play at home, but it has tarnished their 60th anniversary celebrations.

Dungannon Council said that all remedial work to the area was part of the contract with the organisers of CountryFest and that they would endeavour "to ensure that this work is carried out as swiftly and efficiently as possible".

Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa