Football and rugby games abandoned due to cows

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Managers of Market Harborough Football Club were forced to abandon their games when their pitches were invaded by dozens of cows.

The cattle live in a field near to the pitches of Harborough Town Football Club, where the under-11s and under-18s play.

But the animals keep escaping through a fence onto the pitches, off Northampton Road in Market Harborough.

In the latest incident, the cows got onto the pitches on Saturday night. The farmer came to the pitches on Sunday morning and moved the cows back to their fleld but by then the animals had left hundreds of cow pats all over the field and dents in playing surfaces.

Marion Hayton, the football club’s development officer, said: “There were 37 cows on Saturday night. By Sunday morning there were 50 plus.”

By the time the cows had been removed, there was not enough time to clear the pitches for some of the Sunday morning matches.

Three football games and four rugby matches were cancelled.

She said that as soon as the games had finished on Sunday, the cows returned on to the pitches.

“They came back from a different gap,” said Mrs Hayton.

“On Monday morning, they were gone by 9am.

“But unfortunately it is another massive clean up.”

She said the problem had been happening for several years, and although the club had spoken to the farmer who owns the cows many times about the issue, but the problems continued.

She added: “I am frustrated and angry because we have to ask volunteers to do extra work.

“This has to stop. It is taking a lot of extra resources.

“We want the farmer to take responsibility.”