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Homeless Thurso look to return to Dammies for ground's 150th anniversary


By Will Clark

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Thurso are waiting to hear if they can return to their home ground for the start of the new North Caledonian League season to mark the venue’s 150th anniversary.

Steven Sutherland flies in with a tackle on Innes Mackintosh during a recent North Caledonian league derby between Halkirk United and Thurso. Both teams will be looking for an improvement next term. Picture: James Gunn
Steven Sutherland flies in with a tackle on Innes Mackintosh during a recent North Caledonian league derby between Halkirk United and Thurso. Both teams will be looking for an improvement next term. Picture: James Gunn

The Vikings have not played at the Dammies for over a year due to drainage problems at the pitch which has made it unsuitable for playing football.

Last season, they were forced to play all of their home matches at Naver which has an artificial surface.

But with the North Caledonian League announcing the season will start on Saturday, October 17, manager Stevie Reid is confident his team will be able to kick off their season at the Dammies.

“Our main priority is getting the Dammies back up and running,” he said.

“We are still waiting to get drainage sorted out at the ground and hopefully there is a meeting being held shortly about it with a council official.

“Last year it was totally unplayable, drains were clogged up and repair work is required.

“But it is looking promising.

“Highland Council are assuring us it will be fit to play on because we couldn’t play a game on it last year.”

Reid is also hopeful for his squad’s sake that they can return to playing on a grass pitch due to the unpopularity of playing on artificial surfaces, including at Naver.

“If we are forced to play at Naver again I am not sure how our squad will react,” he said.

“There are five players who refuse to play on the surface due to the potential of injuries, so it is a big issue for us.”

The Caithness Amateur Football Association also raised concerns about the future of the Dammies earlier this year.

Thurso Acks and Thurso Pentland faced looking for a new ground before the summer season was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The North Caledonian League has announced that its season will start on Saturday, October 17.

Thurso will be in NCL Division One with Halkirk United, Golspie Sutherland, Invergordon, Orkney and St Duthus.

Reid is hopeful, if not 100 per cent confident, that the season can start on that date due to the rising number of cases of Covid-19 in Scotland.

However, he says he is pleased there is at least a starting date fixed for when they can play competitive football again.

“I am not 100 per cent convinced that it will go ahead the way the country is heading as it doesn’t fill you with confidence,” he admitted.

“But it’s good at the moment we can return to action under strict controls.

“We’ll take it day by day, we are training and preparing for it.”

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