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GAME OFF: Torquay United v Bury postponed amid 'player safety' concerns

By HESport  |  Posted: February 07, 2014

NEW STAND: Bristow's Bench, which has been blamed as exacerbating drainage problems

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UPDATE: Referee Dave Phillips called off Saturday afternoon's match between Torquay United and Bury after a pitch inspection at 12.20pm.

Mr Phillips conducted a thorough and lengthy pitch inspection at Plainmoor on Saturday morning ahead of the big match.

But after a second inspection at midday he said there would be concerns about player safety in several areas, particularly in front of the new grandstand.

Mr Phillips acknowledged that Plainmoor staff had worked very hard to get the ground playable, but both managers had concerns, and the forecast for the rest of the day is not encouraging.

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Torquay manager Chris Hargreaves said: "I'm not going to criticise the ref's decision.

"Ten or 15 years ago we might have played, but referees have to make decisions on slightly different criteria now as regards player safety. I'm certainly not going to criticise his decision today."

Assistant referee Lee Swabey conducted an initial inspection of the Plainmoor surface at 2pm on Friday, and passed it as playable.

The worry was that, with heavy rain forecast overnight, the ‘sticky’ flank areas would be unable to soak up any more water, and cause the game to be postponed.

This week, the club admitted that the fear is that their new £1.9m grandstand Bristow's Bench may have exacerbated drainage problems on the pitch, with the surface in front of the stand especially problematic.

With more rain forecast next week, there is also a fear that Tuesday night’s clash against Northampton Town – which has already been re-arranged once – could also be under threat.

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