Anger as fork found in rugby pitch minutes before kick-off

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On Saturday, amateur team Royals RFC were warming up to face Hertfordshire side Berkhamsted at Grainville School when the fork was discovered embedded in the grass.

It was sticking out just a few inches above the pitch with its tines bent outwards.

William Whitehead, who was refereeing on the day, said that someone could have lost an eye if they had landed on the fork and urged the culprit to think before they act.

‘I have been a referee since 2001 and have used the Grainville pitch lots of times. I have found things like pencils, compasses, dog poo and broken glass on it before but never a fork. It is quite horrifying,’ he said.

‘The injury it could have caused could have been horrendous.

‘It definitely would have pierced someone’s skin or maybe even caused someone to lose an eye. It does not bear thinking about.’

Mr Whitehead, an English teacher at Beaulieu, added that the fork had been bent and placed in the ground in such a way that it would not have moved if someone had come into contact with it.

He also said that the incident had now encouraged him to be more vigilant while carrying out pre-match pitch inspections.

‘I do not think anyone has a vendetta against sports teams using the the pitch but someone has put some serious thought into this.

‘Most of the things I have found have been dropped carelessly but this is different – it was right on the 22-metre line where the away team were warming up.’

He added: ‘I would say to whoever did this not to be so stupid. Use your head and think before you act.’

Jersey Royals went on to beat Berkhamstead 19-5.

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