Bo'ness United's 3G pitch plan is ruined by mine shaft discovery

Boness Uniteds 7500-capacity Newtown Park was first opened in 1886.
Boness Uniteds 7500-capacity Newtown Park was first opened in 1886.

Bo’ness United’s long-laid plan to play on a new 3G surface at Newtown Park next season is over, after the discovery of an underground mine entry/shaft at the ground.

At the club AGM on Wednesday night, it was announced that the project – involving digging up the existing grass pitch before laying the artificial one – has been shelved and won’t now start until May 2019.

BUs coach Keith Hogg told the Bo’ness Journal: “This is a setback in relation to how we want to progress as a community club.

“I feel sorry for all the people involved in the hard work which has taken place between the club and the community to get to this stage, which has been phenomenal.

“They have worked tirelessly to get the funding in place.

“Finding a mine shaft in a village like Bo’ness was always a possibility.

“It would have been fantastic to play on this new pitch as we enter the East of Scotland League at the start of next season, but we will progress as we are.

“The players started training on the grass pitch last Thursday and are happy enough to keep playing on it.

“Hopefully, we can get the pitch up to the standard it has been in years gone by.

“We are really looking forward to the start of the new season. It will be a new challenge in a new league.”

As reported previously in this newspaper, the mine entry/shaft – closed pre-1920 – was found during a visit by inspectors earlier this summer.

The timing of the discovery could hardly have been worse for the BUs, as they prepare for life as a newly-registered Conference B side after quitting the junior ranks at the end of last season.