Travellers return to rugby club’s pitches

Travellers have moved onto Shaw Cross playing fields. (D522B338)

Travellers have moved onto Shaw Cross playing fields. (D522B338)

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Travellers have returned to a rugby club’s pitches - just seven weeks after they left.

Caravans pitched up on the Shaw Cross Sharks playing fields on Leeds Road on Sunday night, leaving the club devastated.

Back in July the same group of travellers disrupted training and matches when they spent the best part of a week on the fields.

Then, Kirklees Council, which owns the land, applied to Huddersfield County Court for a possession order so they could evict the travellers.

But they moved on from the fields on the day of the hearing, July 19, leaving behind rubbish and mess for the club and council to clear.

It came just after the club had spent £3,000 upgrading playing surfaces. The same group were on playing fields at Sands Lane last week.

Benny Richardson, secretary of the open-age club, said: “We’re bitterly disappointed - both that the travellers are back and that the council have been unable to stop this happening again.”

The travellers are on one of the pitches, so the open-age team were able to train on last night (Monday), but junior training tonight, may not go ahead.

The open-age team is riding high in the National Conference League, and has just three matches left - an away match on Saturday and then two home games on subsequent weekends - including one of the biggest matches of the season against Normanton Knights.

Six junior matches this weekend are under threat.

Mr Richardson said: “There are horses tethered to the posts dogs running wild across all the pitches. Last time the place was left in a right mess, with horse muck and human excrement everywhere. The council cleared it up but it meant the fields were out of action.

“As a club we are determined not to let this affect us. Not just for the open-age team, but for the 250 local kids who use our facilities.”

For more on this story, see this week’s Reporter.