IT saddened me as an ex-rugby player to see a photo of volunteer Clive Booth clearing up horse manure after Travellers had left their tethered horses on the rugby pitches at Bishop Auckland RFC (Echo, June 25).

I played rugby for 32 glorious seasons with Durham City RFC and played everywhere from London to Berwick, and some of the pitches were less than pristine. I even played on an outlying field in Sheffield that had been flooded with sewage!

Hartlepool pitches had a problem with dog fouling, which was not very pleasant at all.

However the worst pitch of all was at Dairy Lane, Houghton where there was a 30-strong milking herd grazing on the pitch until kick off and the cow pats were still warm when you dived about in them.

I am sure playing on pitches with excrement on them would not be allowed now in this world of ours due to health and safety regulations.

I do hope that all the horse manure from Bishop Auckland RFC was put to good use on someone’s home grown tomatoes.

Malcolm Rolling, Carrville, Durham