UK's 'worst pitch' named in Briggs & Stratton competition

As pitch conditions at the World Cup make headlines, an amateur pitch found worst in the UK in a competition has been named.

South Newton and Wishford FC was flooded this winter
South Newton and Wishford FC was flooded this winter

This winter’s floods left the pitch at South Newton and Wishford FC with dead grass, potholes and an uneven, hard surface, leading to the club having to forfeit games and pay to practice indoors.

Now, thanks to the Pitch to Win competition ran by petrol lawnmower engine manufacturers Briggs & Stratton, the pitch will get a £3,000 pitch makeover.

The competition was spotted by under 13s player Harry Russell, who thought it could be a lifeline for the pitch and persuaded his dad and assistant team coach Paul to enter.

Russell senior said: "Winning Pitch to Win is a brilliant way to turn round what has been a very tough season. The state of our pitch meant that we simply couldn’t play on it – it really put our season in jeopardy. It was only thanks to the tremendous hard work of our groundsman that we managed to finish the season at all.

"South Newton is a relatively small club, with a long and celebrated history and great ambitions for the future, but we have extremely limited resources.

"Briggs & Stratton’s help is the answer to our prayers as it will allow us to improve the drainage and cure the problems so we can create a great playing surface and hopefully have a much better season next year."

To help the entry the team came up with its own "flood proof football kit" to help them face the wet conditions with the players turning up to practice with snorkels, rubber rings, flippers and even a surf board. As well as the £3,000 pitch makeover, the team will also receive a season’s sponsorship and a brand new kit to replace their watery option.

UK sales and marketing manager at Briggs & Stratton Ian Small said: "We were inundated with entries for Pitch to Win, perhaps as a result of the bad weather and flooding at the beginning of the year. The standard of entries was really high and judging was not easy, but South Newton and Wishford’s entry really stood out.

"Amateur football can be the heart of a community, and South Newton and Wishford really reminded us of that. They’ve had such a tough season because of their pitch so it’s great to be able to help them out. They really are very deserving and I hope the pitch makeover helps them be victorious in the future."

Hedon Rangers in Hull and Newhaven FC in Sussex were runners up and will each win £500 for the club kitty as well as a season’s sponsorship and a brand new kit.

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