Belfast Telegraph

Move over Watergate, Wardengate makes bigger splash

Warden Street
Warden Street

By Billy Weir

It doesn't put me up there alongside Mystic Meg or Russell Grant - despite the physical similarities to the latter - in the soothsayer stakes, but my doom-mongering last week of no action at the Ballymena Showgrounds this week came all too true.

Frost put paid to Saturday's planned Tennent's Irish Cup clash between Ballymena United and Portadown and, when the thaw came, lashing rain coupled with an already saturated pitch put paid to Tuesday's Co Antrim Shield Final.

What happens next for the latter is now being discussed between the final protagonists, Linfield and Crusaders, but how anyone with even the slightest titter of wit thought that Warden Street in its current state was fit to host a final is beyond me.

I still await a response to my enquiry to Mid and East Antrim Council as to just how a pitch that was only laid in the summer can be in such a bad state of repair that it has caused seven matches to be postponed (it was only five when I contacted them), with five senior games and two from the local league being called off.

Not a word, until the bigger red face of having a final cancelled finally got them to poke their head up and issue the following statement to the media on Tuesday.

"We are extremely disappointed and hugely frustrated by the condition of the playing surface," said the council.

"We have launched a full investigation into the current issues in order to find a long-term solution.

"We wanted the pitch at the Showgrounds to be among the very best in Northern Ireland and we are committed to ensuring we will deliver this for the people of Mid and East Antrim."

I am sure you will also reimburse them the £250,000 from their rates that was spent to create this mess.

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