EVEN though the future for amateur sport in Powys looks bleak, one Radnorshire rugby club fear persistent and increased incidents of dog fouling could extend delays to any potential new season.

Amateur clubs are already in limbo as to when – or rather if – they will get to kick-off and compete in a 2020/21 campaign, due to restrictions on playing sport still in force from the Welsh Government – even though legislation across the border has allowed English clubs to play matches.

But officials at Llandrindod Wells Rugby Club are having to content with another barrier – the issue of dog mess littering their Lant Avenue home turf.

“It’s been a problem for a good few years now but has got worse lately, possibly even worse during lockdown,” said head coach Rich Watkins.

“In recent years we’ve had games temporarily stopped because mess has been found, so we’ve resorted to having bags present on match days to clean up. But it’s pretty embarrassing when other teams refuse to carry on because of it.

“Recently we’ve started training again and I’ve cleaned up multiple piles before and during sessions in order to keep the boys safe. People just let their dogs roam free across the pitch and don’t seem to clean up after them.”

Football and rugby teams have returned to action in recent weeks and months, following Welsh Government easing of restrictions and allowing gatherings of up to 30 people. Many clubs have returned to pre-season training as much out of a means to cure boredom and get fit, even if uncertainty remains as to when – or even if – they’ll have a season to prepare for.

But Rich admits the continued issues at Lant Avenue may also keep some players away.

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“As with most sports in the current climate, we’re in an uncertain time so it’s hard to get players motivated to train anyway without the risk of coming into contact with dog mess while up on the pitch,” said the 34-year-old, who retired after 15 seasons as a player last year.

“The worse it gets the more it turns people away. We don’t mind people using the fields to exercise their dogs but they need to clean up after them.

“Obviously, it’s only the minority but it’s getting to a stage where we’ve discussed certain measures, from signs, to even having CCTV put up and, in the extreme, possibly even having the playing area fenced off.”

Despite the issues and bleak picture being painted for sport in Mid Wales, there is some good news for rugby fans in the Spa town, with facilities upgraded at the club during lockdown – so when normality does resume, fans and players alike at Llandrindod RFC will be in for a treat.

“On a lighter note, the clubhouse has gone under some recent renovations where we’ve had the bar revamped, the kitchen ripped out and replaced and the toilets are also on the verge of completion,” added Rich.

“So, hopefully when we get back to some sort of normality, we’ll be able to have the clubhouse back open and have some good rugby socials as well as being a cracking venue to be proud of. Thanks to everyone involved in the improvements.”