Fixture chaos for clubs as weather hits hard again

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Once again, the weather has taken its toll on our clubs, with not one kicking a ball in anger over the last week.

Certainly, it is the worst weather I can ever remember and our clubs must now have grave doubts about fulfilling their fixtures this season.

At the time of writing, our 12 local clubs have a total of 104 league games to play - and at least eight cup ties as well.

That is if our clubs can play any matches at all over the Easter weekend!

They have, in total, 36 days to complete all their games - meaning that most will be playing three times a week, which is simply ridiculous.

I have spoken to at least six clubs, and they have all given the same grim outlook.

You have to remember that these players are part-time, and work during the day.

To ask them to play three times a week, and travel all over in these conditions, is simply unacceptable - and in some cases dangerous as well.

Both the Evo-Stik and The Baris North Counties East League committees have extended their season by one week to May 4, but surely this is still not enough.

Also from a club’s point of view, their pitches will not take three matches a week in these conditions, and their gates will tumble.

It all comes at a time when clubs can ill afford to lose such amounts of money.

If the snow shifts and the water subsides, then Stocksbridge Park Steels will host AFC Flyde on Saturday in an Evo-Stik League Premier Division game that they simply must win.

Steels, who still have a mountain of league games to play before their ground closes on April 24, then travel to FC United of Manchester on Monday, with both Nathan Forbes-Swindells and Matt Telling hoping to at last make their debuts for the club.

In Division One South, Sheffield FC face a grim run, with 13 league matches still to play.

It all starts on Saturday, when they visit Rainworth Miners Welfare. Then on Monday they entertain Kidsgrove Athletic, and welcome welcome Lincoln United to their BT Local Business Stadium on Thursday.

So, with a game to fit in next Saturday too, they face a run of four games in the space of eight days.

The return of Joel Purkiss from a spell in America, however, should ease their squad’s demanding schedule.

The Baris North Counties East League moved their entire cancelled league programme from last Saturday to May 4, if clubs can get their grounds.

Division One side Hallam, who still have ten games to play, start their Easter programme on Saturday when they travel to Rossington Main.

On Tuesday they play hosts to a struggling, and almost certainly relegated, Askern Villa.

Dinnington Town, too, are facing a grim run-in, with ten matches still to play - with only four at home.

They’ve lost Michael Trench and Joe Bytheway to Staveley, but have brought in Curtis Gregory from Athersley.

Without a win in eight games, they entertain third-placed Shirebrook Town on Saturday before travelling to second-placed Albion Sports next Wednesday.

They do not come much harder than that.

Worsbrough Bridge are our form side, but they too face a bewildering time with a pile up of 11 fixtures. On Saturday they entertain Yorkshire Amateurs, followed by Shirebrook Town on Monday.

Then on Wednesday they travel to Bradford to face Eccleshill United.

In the Premier Division, fourth placed Worksop Parramore have had a great season and their run of eleven games without defeat leaves them in fourth place.

On Saturday, Darren Bland’s side travel to Pickering Town, before a derby League Cup quarter-final against Parkgate.

Parkgate entertain Liversidge at Green Lane on Saturday.

Maltby Main face a tough weekend test at Retford United, but have an easier game on Tuesday against Long Eaton United at Muglet Lane.

Staveley ended their losing run on Tuesday with a Senior Cup win at Rossington, but in the league they have gone nine games without a win.

They play Armthorpe Welfare on Saturday, and Liversedge on Tuesday.