Bovine protest Cows stop rugby and football matches by invading the pitch

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Teams in Market Harborough, Leics, have been forced to cancel multiple games because a herd of more than 60 cows keep launching pitch invasions.

They render games unplayable by tearing up the grass and leaving hundreds of cow pats spread all over the £1.1million facility.

The cows live in a field next to the pitches of Harborough Town Football Club and Market Harborough Rugby Club, where teams of all ages play on 11 pitches.

But the sports-mad beasts keep pouring through fences to soak up the atmosphere.

The latest incident came at the weekend when three football games and four rugby matches were cancelled after the cows made four of the six pitches unplayable.

It was the final straw for many at the club.

Marion Hayton, 54, the Harborough Town FC”s club development and commercial executive officer, said: “We have fantastic facilities and are very proud of what we have got.

“We have eight changing rooms, a club house and eleven pitches including a 3G pitch and floodlights. There is a full time manager to look after the grass.

“It costs an awful lot of money to maintain it all. 

“That”s why it”s so frustrating that the cows keep coming onto the pitches. It”s been happening for the past seven or eight years.

“And as you can imagine, 60 cows charging down across the ditch to come to our grounds leaves a lot of mess. 

“There were 37 cows here on Saturday night and 50 come Sunday morning.

”It”s impossible to get all the games played when that happens.”

Although the farmer was able to come and clear the cows before Sunday”s first kick-off at 10:30, there was not enough time to clean the playing surfaces.

According to Mrs Hayton, the cows returned through a different hole in the border fence later in the afternoon as the players were packing up the nets.

She claims the farmer is only temporarily patching the fences and needs to take much longer term measures to stop the cows from coming in.

She said: “It”s unfair to all the players and especially the children when you have to delay or even cancel the games.

“Some of the other teams come from a long way away.

“When you come down in the early morning you expect everything to be ready.

“Having to clear cow pats off the field just to try and get a game going is extremely annoying.

“Sometimes we have to shift cow pats by the bucket.

“It”s not safe or healthy for the players, especially not the kids.”