Funding application approved for Sumas to return to Lowther Road

Lowther Road has undergone a makeover

Wokingham and Emmbrook have received approval from the FA to fund the ground improvements which will see them return to Lowther Road next season.

The Sumas have been forced to groundshare with Bracknell Town at Larges Lane this season due to Lowther Road not fully complying with the FA rules for Hellenic League stadia.

Sumas are going home

However, everything is now in place for Dan Bateman’s men to finally return to the borough at a ground complete with floodlights and a stand, as well as other necessary requirements.

The club say a full statement will be released later this month but have confirmed that they have been successful with their application to The FA for funding the ground improvements at Lowther Road, a process headed by Mark Ashwell.

An application was submitted to the Football Foundation with £30,000 local funding required via sponsorship and club funds to pay for the improvements, which has also included a refurbishment in the bar area, which in turn triggers an extra grant from the authorities.

Since the mid-1990s, Wokingham have shared grounds with Windsor and Eton, Egham, Flackwell Heath and Henley as well as Bracknell before finally receiving planning permission to develop Lowther Road in 2016 and return to the borough.

However, new rules for this campaign meant the Sumas had to move again and they considered the idea of voluntary relegation before agreeing a deal with Bracknell.

They had hoped to return to Lowther Road as a Hellenic Premier side, but it has been an up and down campaign in Division One East with Bateman currently guiding his side to sixth in the standings.

Speaking to The Wokingham Paper last week, Bateman said: “We’re hopeful that everything will go through without a glitch and the plan is still that we will be back at Lowther Road next year with floodlights and a stand so the club’s making plans based on that fact.

“A lot of work has been going in behind the scenes from the committee and from other people to do the clubhouse up.

“It looks really nice in there now and it makes a big difference to the general feel of the place.

“I think it’s been 20 odd years we’ve been waiting to try and get home. We lost Finchampstead Road in 1999 I think so the time we actually do go home and have floodlights and are able to play the level of football we want to play at our own ground will be brilliant.

“We’re looking at entering an Allied Counties side next year so we’ve got Under-18s football at Lowther Road as well so we’re making plans as if everything’s going to be ready and hopefully there’s no last minute spanners in the works.

“We’re confident that we’ll be back next year.”



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