Cambridgeshire

Cambridge United 'hopping mad' as rabbits eat goal net

Football net damaged by rabbits Image copyright Alan Burge
Image caption The bunnies chewed through the net overnight

Hungry rabbits left a football club "hopping mad" after munching through a goal net.

Cambridge United groundsman Ian Darler was preparing the pitch for Saturday's home game against Stevenage when he noticed "we've had a little visitor".

The bunnies chewed through the bottom of the net and left "other little gifts" in the goalmouth, he said.

Mr Darler managed to tie it back together and said he was inspired by "watching fishermen mend their nets".

Image copyright Alan Burge
Image caption Ian Darler "crocheted" the net back together after watching fishermen on TV

Fans were quick to comment when photographs of the damage were posted on social media.

Those despairing of the League Two club's form - they have won one of their last seven games and did not score at all in the last two - suggested the rabbits might make better players.

"At least the rabbits actually found the net," one wrote, while another said the club should "sign them up - they appear to know where the net is".

Meanwhile, club mascot Marvin the Moose has accused local rival Peterborough United's giant bunny mascot, Peter Burrow, of trying to sabotage the club.

Mr Darler, who has tended the ground for 41 years, said it "can be a bit of a menagerie" with foxes and rabbits enjoying their own games on the pitch, which is near a common in the east of the city.

"I was left hopping mad," he said.

"The rabbits had left two big burrows in the goal mouth and the gift of some droppings as well as causing about £250 of damage to the net, which was new this season.

"Luckily, I have been watching a programme about Cornish fishermen mending their nets, and thought, 'I can do that'."

He said his cable-tie crochet fix "could hardly be noticed" and should last until the end of the season.

Image caption Rabbits - but not these ones - left "other little gifts" in the goalmouth

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