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Washout a boon to clubs boasting 'third generation' synthetic pitches

By Herald Express  |  Posted: November 29, 2012

By NEIL HOCKING

ON THE BALL:  Babbacombe's Savash Zulhayir on Roselands' 3G pitch  PHOTO WWW.MIRACLEPR.COM

ON THE BALL: Babbacombe's Savash Zulhayir on Roselands' 3G pitch PHOTO WWW.MIRACLEPR.COM

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SOUTH Devon League clubs and officials are hoping for a respite from the elements after last weekend's washout, which saw the entire league programme postponed.

The possibility of residual water becoming frozen should temperatures drop is of lingering concern, but the majority of pitches should have had an opportunity to recover by Saturday afternoon.

One fixture that should be unaffected is Riviera Spurs' Division One clash with leaders Watcombe Wanderers.

Together with Roselands, Spurs play their home games on the all-weather 3G pitches at Paignton Community College.

3G is more properly known as 'third generation synthetic surfacing' and is the latest incarnation of the infamous 'plastic pitch', often conflated with the American brand AstroTurf.

After a brief and spectacularly unsuccessful introduction to the professional English game in the 1980s, artificial surfaces disappeared and were eventually banned by both UEFA and FIFA.

Since then, the technology behind artificial turf has led to the creation of a far more realistic surface and now even Internationals and UEFA Champions League matches can be played on FIFA certified 3G.

The pitches at both Paignton College and Torquay Academy are FIFA 2-Star certified.

Last Saturday, Roselands (Division 5) and Babbacombe Corinthians (Division 3) became the only two SDFL clubs in action, contesting a Devon Intermediate Cup Area Quarter-Final on the 3G. Despite the unrelenting rain, the standard of football on display was a credit to both teams. Babbacombe settled quickly and just about had the best of the early exchanges, but Roselands grew more dangerous as the half wore on, James Steven in the Corries goal called upon more than once to snuff out the danger. Babbacombe came out fighting in the second half and, with only seven minutes gone, Darren Whittington floated the ball into the net straight from a corner kick to give the visitors the lead.

From then on in, Babbacombe began to steadily assert their authority, the vocal support from the touchline adding an urgency and determination that Roselands, for all their talent on the ball, just couldn't match. Babbacombe showed great composure as Roselands mounted a last-ditch bid for extra-time, hanging on to claim a rare win at Roselands' artificial fortress.

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