Plans for a girls football tournament in Chorley may have gone up in smoke after a fire in a clubhouse caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage.
Euxton is set to host Euxton Girls’ Summer Tournament for more than 500 young players in the coming weeks at their base at Greenside.
However, a fire broke out in one of the changing rooms on Monday and melted four sets of Samba goalposts worth £400 each.
Now, club officials face a race against time to replace the new goalposts ready for the competition on June 25 and 26, the seventh time the club will have hosted the prestigious event.
Dennis Winn, secretary of Euxton Girls, said: “There are more than 50 teams coming from around the north west of England and we cannot hold a competition without goalposts.
“I have been down to assess the damage and only one of the goalposts has been recovered.
“It means that we have had to re-order another three sets and hopefully they are going to arrive on June 21, but it is only four days before the competition.
“We just have to hope that they will come on time.
“Euxton Parish Council, which runs the clubhouse, will be able to claim back the money for one of the nets on their insurance, but we have to wait to find out how we are going to pay for the rest.
“It is a good job that the tournament was not running this weekend because we would have had no chance of getting them in time.
“We have to be thankful though as it could have been much worse – the whole building could have burned down.”
Parish clerk, Coun Deborah Platt said: “There was some rubbish bags left from a tournament last week and they caught fire.
“Luckily there was some damp grass also in the bag which put the fire out.
“We think the fire may have been started by a cigarette which was discarded in the rubbish bag, but was not properly put out.
“The fire was starved of oxygen because all of the doors were locked and the windows were shut and thankfully it must have just fizzled out.
“There was some smoke damage to the wall though which will need repainting and some light fittings may need changing.”
Chorley Watch manager Mark Greenwood, of Chorley Fire Station, said: “We got a late fire call which means that the fire had already been extinguished.
“We went to investigate and there was a severe amount of damage to a large number of bags in the changing rooms, but we are not treating it as suspicious.”
Four girls from Euxton Girls have gone on to play in the national women’s league, for Liverpool, North End and Blackburn Rovers, while ex-players have played for England and the club has toured Holland.
Last year’s tournament, which covers various age groups, included winners from Wigan, Preston, Southport and Blackpool.
Anyone interested in donating some money to the club should contact Dennis on 01257 415953.