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Clubs frustrated by continued bad weather
THE area’s leading senior football clubs are breathing a collective sigh of relief – due to the bad weather.
At the beginning of this season all four of the senior clubs – three in the Sydenhams Wessex League Division 1 – were sceptical about what were perceived to be shortened fixture lists due to the lack of teams in their divisions.
That scepticism is fast changing into relief as the bad weather lurches from freezing to soaking wet and back again.
Once again last weekend was wiped out by the cold spell which reached a peak when snow was dumped all over Andover.
That put paid to what could have been a reasonable crowd at Foxcotte Park for the Friday evening game between New Street and Amesbury Town.
By then resistance was futile as everything once again bit the dust on Saturday and Sunday.
Wessex League secretary John Gorman is not anticipating problems for the Division One clubs.
They only had 30 league games to start with and were confident enough to delay the start by a month and leave April open.
“It meant that the fixture secretary could drop the whole day’s fixtures onto the first Saturday in April when we had the first washout earlier last year and for this week he may well do the same,” explained Gorman.
From having virtually no midweek games, apart from an occasional rearrangement or a minor cup tie, some clubs are now rapidly filling up their midweek dates.
“While Division One still looks fine, there may be a problem in the Premier Division with Bemerton Heath, Blackfield and Langley and Newport IOW all still in the FA Vase,” Gorman added.
Indeed, with Bemerton and Blackfield and Langley being called off twice and with the weather report showing no sign of a thaw this weekend, more fixtures will be put back.
However, in Division One New Street head down to Hythe and Dibden this weekend looking for a long awaited win.
They will also be after some revenge for their defeat in the League Cup earlier in the season.
New Street boss Phil Andrews was pessimistic about the chances of playing and pointed out that not only is playing impossible, but training is dangerous as well.
“It’s a nightmare really as our usual venue at Anton School is unusable and one of our players, Tommy Gentleman, has sorted some time for us to train at his Reasons Fitness Centre which we are very thankful for.”
Meanwhile Stockbridge manager Stuart Thomson has welcomed back stalwart Steve Witt after injury and he joins a squad which has had time to recover from knocks and is on standby to play at Tadley Calleva tomorrow.
“We are not hopeful but if things don’t improve soon we will be playing plenty of midweekers,” he warned.
Whitchurch United will be wanting to get up and running again soon if tomorrow’s home match with US Portsmouth goes west.
United scretary Phil Cooper pointed out “We were due to play at Fleet Town on Tuesday in the Basingstoke Senior Cup but that was postponed.
“We also have drawn them away in the North Hants Senior Cup and as we play New Street at home on February 5 and Pewsey Vale away a week later, the two cup games will follow.”
Andover Lions have no such problems with the Magnata Care Hants 2004 League decimated to the point that they are left with only ten teams,.
That means the table-topping Lions only have seven league games left.
It is a problem which may be partly resolved by the rumoured merger between the Magnata Care League and the Hampshire Premier next season.
Sparsholt College are expected to take a place in the Premier Division.
They have applied to go into the Wessex League but have been told that, as they are essentially a youth team, they will have to start at level seven – ie the Hampshire Premier.
Mortimer FC, based a long goal kick from Tadley but just over the border in Berkshire, have also applied to the Wessex League.
But on the negative side Fleet Spurs have again tendered their resignation for the end of the season.