A VALLEYS rugby club hit by vandalism has taken the decision to close and lock its playing ground ahead of anticipated works to improve the drainage prior to the 2019/2020 season which begins in September.

Brynmawr RFC, who play their home games at the Town’s Recreation Ground, are in the process of securing a 25-year lease to their home ground after local authority, Blaenau Gwent Borough Council withdrew funding due to cuts.

However, the club suffered a setback after vandals broke into the equipment locker, snapped fibreglass corner flags and left tackling pads strewn over the pitch side.

‘They just blitzed it all after breaking the shutters to get in’, club secretary and director, Rob Kershaw told the Chronicle. ‘The council are in the process of making an entrance for access to to the children’s play area. It is a dog-free zone and there are implications if you go on to the area with a dog.’

The club have now been forced to restrict access to their ground, stating on social media. ‘It is with a great deal of regret and after a lot of thought that we have had to make the following decision. The playing ground is now under the ownership of Brynmawr RFC and all gates will be locked.

If anyone enters the perimeter of the field, this will be classed as trespassing, you will reported to the police.’

The club’s takeover of the ground also left them with the headache of funding an estimated £20,000 scheme to upgrade the site’s drainage. Rob Kershaw stated, ‘We asked the council to fund this before we took the ground on but they told us there was no funding available. however, the Welsh Rugby Union has been very helpful and the council have subsequently stepped in to help out with a new roof on the pavilion.’

Work will now begin in approximately two weeks and during that period the whole of the club’s grounds will be closed while the vital drainage work takes place.

The vandalism, however has been particularly hard to bear for a club that prides itself on being a part of the close-knit local community. In a statement they said, ‘It is unfortunate that a few have spoilt it for the majority of good citizens of the town.’

Anyone who can offer information relating to the vandalism is asked to contact Brynmawr Police on 01495 233944.