Buckie Thistle praise Highland League 'community' as club's pitch in to help host matches
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The Highland League “family” has rallied round to help Buckie Thistle with their pitch problems.
As reported in last week’s Advertiser, Victoria Park has been affected by drainage issues not only within the football ground but the surrounding area of Buckie, leading to six league matches being postponed.
Jags also had to switch their home Aberdeenshire Cup first round tie against Banks O’ Dee last Wednesday to their opponents’ ground, though they managed to win on penalties after a goalless draw.
Tonight, Buckie face Deveronvale in the next round with the Banff side drawn as the home team but unable to host the game due to a floodlight being damaged in recent storms.
That would normally mean the match would be switched to Buckie but with their pitch unplayable, the tie has been switched to Buchan junior side Longside, near Peterhead.
Buckie still have 12 home league games to play this season and manager Graeme Stewart revealed that some of those will have to go to neutral venues.
Deveronvale and Lossiemouth have offered their home grounds to help Jags out, a gesture greatly appreciated by Stewart.
“We play Rothes on Saturday at home, but we are not going to play on our pitch for the next two or three weeks unless there is a massive improvement, which there doesn’t look like being,” he said.
“Lossiemouth and Deveronvale have very kindly agreed to support us by lending us their pitch if and when it is required, assuming it is in a playable state.
“It’s hats off to them, the Highland League is a great community and of course there’s a lot of rivalries but when something like this happens and you seek teams trying to help you, it shows you how good the spirit is and the relationships we have in the league.
“I wasn’t expecting it but clubs have been jumping all over it to help out, so fair play to them.”
Lossiemouth have a home game this weekend so Jags’ match with Rothes is likely to go ahead in Banff.
“We are very strong at home but it’s something you have to deal with,” Stewart said.
Keeper Stuart Knight went off injured at half time in the Banks O’ Dee tie and will be missing for several weeks with a hamstring injury.
His deputy Euan Storrier was the hero, saving two Dee penalties in the shoot-out after Jags also missed one.