Rock solid defending at Clayborn!

Liversedge FC president Bob Gawthorpe with the fossil which has been found at the Clayborn ground.
Liversedge FC president Bob Gawthorpe with the fossil which has been found at the Clayborn ground.

A FOSSIL which could be millions of years old has been uncovered by football club members who were digging a drain at the pitch.

The fossil is believed to be an anchor root of a tree and could date back to between 290 and 360 million years ago.

Football club president Bob Gawthorpe has recently written a history of Liversedge FC, but even he could not have anticipated something of such historical significance turning up at the Clayborn ground off Hightown Road.

“The trouble with nostalgia is that it brings back memories, but this story goes way beyond that. I suppose we could say it’s about when dinosaurs played at Clayborn – or has anything changed?” he joked.

“It was whilst digging a drain to prevent run-off from the banking waterlogging the pitch, that committee man John Holbert dug up the fossil.

“We then sought advice from a palaeontologist to shed some light on what the fossil was.”

The club members were told that the ground stands on the Clifton series of rocks belonging to the lower/middle coal measures of the carboniferous age – 290 to 360 million years ago.

“The soft shales and clays are not very fossiliferous, so the fossil of this lepidodrendron root may have been washed down by a river into the shale,” said Bob.

“Lepidodrendron trees were the giant trees that grew in swamps and gave the Spen Valley district its rich supply of coal.

“A mature tree was well over 150ft in height.

“Under the pitch is a band of ‘thick rock’ as it is called on the geological map, but it is better known as Thornhill Rock where it outcrops.

“This has caused the club great difficulty with drainage problems on the field as the rock is impervious and prevents the rainwater’s downward passage.”

The club has not yet decided what to do with its extraordinary find – though it could make an unusual, but welcome addition to its trophy cabinet!