MOPED-RIDING vandals have torn up the pitch of Christchurch Rugby Club, leaving members with a potentially expensive bill to fix the damage.
The pitch used by Christchurch RFC was already sodden from the torrential rain brought by the weekend’s Storm Dennis when tyre tracks were gouged into it.
The incident is a blow to the newly relaunched club which only came back to life in April 2019 having folded 25 years ago.
Christchurch Rugby Club secretary Donovan Lynaghon told the A&T the offenders had even uploaded a video onto social media of themselves causing the damage.
Members had overcome the bad weather to play on the pitch at East Christchurch Sports & Social Club, off Grange Road, on Saturday. The damage caused by the moped was discovered the following evening.
“The problem is, with the weather as well, the pitch has been really badly torn up,” said Mr Lynaghon.
“Early evening on Sunday I was told a group of people had taken a moped over the pitch. It was a group in their late teens or 20s.
“The people who did it even shared a video on social media of them doing it.”
He added: “I don’t think it was particularly targeted as, as well as the rugby pitch, it’s believed they rode over Watermans Park in Somerford on the same day, causing some damage there.”
Although the pitch was already due for a two-week rest after Saturday’s game, Mr Lynaghon feared extensive remedial work would be needed to restore it, costing time and money.
This was a particular shame, he explained, as it could interfere with planned games of O2 touch rugby.
“We’re quite flexible with our games in that if it’s a home game we can change it to away, but that does defeat the object of having your own pitch,” Mr Lynaghon continued.
The club uploaded a video of the damage to its Facebook page in a post which called the vandalism a “stupid act”. The club pointed out it has the right to restrict access to the site but has so far kept access routes open due to use by dog walkers.
“Please bear in mind the local benefit and opportunity having a rugby pitch here has. Over 40 people in the immediate area are directly involved in playing for the club, and many, many more with O2 Touch and our future youth and mini project,” it added.
“If you’re over the age of 18 and stuck for ideas in the evenings, rather than damaging our property why not come down and join in, guaranteed you’ll have more fun, and be respected 100% more for it.”
Commenting on Facebook, one person said: “Name and shame these feral types who are out to ruin things.”