Rovers have contingency plan if pitch is not ready

Rovers chief executive Pat Cluskey:"The first match is still a month away."
Rovers chief executive Pat Cluskey:"The first match is still a month away."

Featherstone Rovers will have a contingency plan in place if their pitch is not ready for the start of the Kingston Press Championship season.

Work is continuing to get the extended, relaid pitch at the Big Fellas Stadium fit for next month’s opening home league match against Hunslet Hawks.

Rovers chief executive Pat Cluskey said the club were still hoping the pitch would be ready for the first fixture against Hunslet on February 15.

“I suppose if the worst came to the worst, we wouldn’t be able to host the first league game, but at the moment we are working to get our pitch ready,” said Mr Cluskey.

“Obviously, we need to put plans in place if we can’t do that, but the first match is still a month away.

“We will look at various options whether that be switching the game or finding an alternative venue but at the moment we want to try to get our pitch ready and hopefully the weather will be kinder to us.”

Because of pitch maintenance work, Rovers switched friendlies against Castleford Tigers and Batley Bulldogs to their oppponents’ grounds and they have cancelled the pre-season home fixture against Salford City Reds scheduled for Friday, January 23.

Mr Cluskey added: “We tried to re-arrange for the game for Salford’s AJ Bell Stadium but they couldn’t do that and we also couldn’t find an alternative venue for that weekend.

“Salford have said they are happy to play the fixture next season.

“It’s disappointing that next week’s match is off. It would have been a good test for the players and we had also planned to bring some of our sponsors and prospective sponsors to the game to show them what it’s like on a match night at Big Fellas Stadium.

“We are trying to organise another game for that weekend. We’ve got the opponents and we are now trying to get a venue. We are also looking to arrange another pre-season match after that one.”

Mr Cluskey said the condition of the pitch was being closely monitored.

“Three areas of the pitch were relaid in interim time scales,” he said.

“Of those, two are fine and the parts of the third section are also fine but other parts are not. We are pretty happy with the majority of the pitch but there are a couple of areas that still need to be improved.

“There are some parts that are perfect and we could play on it now but there are a couple of areas that are still pretty boggy and we are taking advice from various people to help remedy that.

“Each Wednesday at 10am we get all the relevant people down to the ground to walk the pitch and have a look at it. They look at how it has improved from the previous week and what work has been done.”