He revealed he suspected an adjoining field to the club’s venue was infested with the invasive plant and warned that if it spread to the club’s field it would be “catastrophic” and the club “might as well disband.”

Other members said they were aware of the problems posed by Japanese Knotweed, one citing an environmentalist who had explained to him the issues involved: The expert told him it was a non-native herbaceous plant that was very difficult, and massively expensive, to get rid of. Its root system can penetrate the ground to a depth of 2-3 metres and spread as much as 7metres. It was capable of undermining building foundations, roads, walls, and it could grow up through tiny cracks in concrete.

It reproduced easily…even the “tiniest fragment” of its stem or root could reproduce, grow into a new plant, and cause further infestation. Any property upon which the plant was spotted suffered immediate devaluation. House sales had fallen through because of it.

The environmentalist had stressed that the knotweed could be spread in all sorts of ways…on the sole of a shoe, by a car or tractor wheel, or even dropped by a bird overflying the coursing field. Another club member cautioned that anyone with a grudge against a coursing club, maybe a disgruntled neighbor, or someone just intent on mischief, “could flick a piece of the plant over a wall or ditch…without even entering the field”, and this could lead to an infestation.

Another member claimed that a hunt club he had dealings with had problems with the invasive plant and they suspected, but couldn’t prove, that hostile elements were behind the infestation.

All the delegates agreed that vigilance was essential to keep Japanese Knotweed off the coursing fields as it posed far worse threat to the future of the sport than the “antis” or falling attendances at fixtures.

• Japanese Knotweed CANNOT be completely killed off, study finds: