Shortwood groundsman confident pitch will be ready for tie

SHORTWOOD United secretary Mark Webb cast his eyes on the long range weather forecast for the Nailsworth area of Gloucester ahead of Sunday’s FA Vase clash between The Woods and Ashington.

And following his assessment, he declared: “We’re hopeful of the tie going ahead.”

Webb, who also doubles up as groundsman, saw Shortwood’s scheduled away League Cup tie against Woodley – opponents based from the other side of Reading – frozen off last weekend and was hopeful Tuesday’s night’s home clash with Flackwell Heath in the uhlsport Hellenic League premier division would beat the weather.

At the weekend he said: “We had three inches of snow fall on Saturday.

“But although it has gone, the pitch is frozen solid.

“We had a better chance of playing on Tuesday and to be honest we definitely want the game on at all cost because we have already dropped well behind with our league fixtures.”

Turning his attentions to Sunday’s Vase clash, Webb added: “I will be monitoring the situation and if necessary be in touch with Steve Clarke, the competition’s secretary at the FA on Thursday about the weather forecast.

“I will also be in communication with Gavin Perry, the Ashington secretary and keep him informed of the situation.

“The pitch was spiked last week and we are hopeful of the tie going ahead.”

Away from his secretarial role, Webb also picked up a prestigious award last season – Groundsman of the Year.

“I was shocked but delighted,” he said.

“I had been highly commended the year before when coming fourth, but to get the top award was nice.

“We had a visit in March from the respective groundsmen at Reading and Southampton and with the pitch in good nick, I think that’s what clinched it.

“The surface is still looking well, although it took a battering over the Christmas period. It has been in better condition but it is flat.”

And Webb reckons the Meadowbank club ought to be in for another award – their food.

“We’ve never played against anyone from so far up north as Ashington, but I can promise them that we have the best burgers and bacon,” he said.