‘Snow go’ for fans as clubs count cost of poor weather

Liam Cartledge of Dinnington Town
Liam Cartledge of Dinnington Town

Once again, the week’s complete fixture lists in both The Evo-Stik and The Baris North Counties East Leagues were lost to ice and snow - and now some of our clubs are facing a crisis of the highest order.

And, with the coming week likely to be another complete loss, our clubs are under great financial pressures.

As a fixture secretary of two major leagues, I know full well the pressures leagues are under to play games.

But surely they can do them better than they are doing? For instance, Sheffield FC should have played North Ferriby United on Tuesday in a cup tie.

But even if Sheffield could get their ground fit, at a cost, is it likely their fans are not going to turn out in this weather?

Is it right to ask the Hull-based club to do a 140-mile round trip in these conditions?

Next Tuesday Sheffield could have an even worse trip if they had visited Leek Town, over some of the worst roads in the country.

And the following week, if they beat North Ferriby, they travel to Blyth Spartans in another cup tie, a journey of 240 miles.

And for what? A gate of around 70-100 spectators, a hazardous journey in dreadful conditions, and a game in which 10 or 12 reserves will feature.

The North Counties, too, have had many matches played in front of gates that totalled between 26 and 42, plus a derby game that attracted just 52.

This week Worksop Parramore should have played Bridlington Town a round trip of 140 miles for a cup tie, and the following week the Seasiders are due at Parkgate in a league game, whilst Staveley must travel to Liversedge.

Sadly it means that fixtures are piling up for our nine teams and already there are 60 matches lined up for February.

It is something the clubs do not want, the fans can not afford and most likely the weather will not permit.

Surely it is not the time of year for such games and the whole set up only adds fuel to the old argument of plastic pitches, as it rears its ugly head yet again.

Still, the game goes on and this coming week, weather permitting of course, promises some excellent games.

In the Evo-Stik Premier Division, Stocksbridge Park entertain Grantham Town at Their Look Local Stadium.

Stocksbridge are four points clear of relegation, but Kendal have six games in hand.

In Division One South, Sheffield FC. are at home to Carlton Town on Saturday and will be looking to improve their poor home record of just three wins from eleven games in the league.

Then next Tuesday they entertain North Ferriby United in the Doodson League Cup Third Round.

In the Baris North Counties East Leagues First Division, Hallam will want to contunue their seven-game unbeaten run with two home games at Sandygate, against Bottesford Town and Grimsby Borough.

Worsbrough Bridge have missed six games since December 1, and next Tuesday I will hopefully be at Park Road for their derby clash against Liam Cartledge’s Dinnington Town.

In the Premier Division, fifth placed Worksop Parramore travel yet again to Hull to face Hall Road Rangers on Saturday.

Next Tuesday, they have their first home game since November 17 against Armthorpe Welfare at Sandy Lane.

Sixth-placed Staveley were frustrated after seeing their good form put on ice, with seven of their last 12 games postponed due to the weather.

If the weather is on their side, they will travel to struggling Liversedge on Tuesday.

Maltby Main’s mid-table placing should get a boost on Saturday with Long Eaton United visiting Muglet Lane in mixed form.

Parkgate have slipped to 12th in the table, but I believe they are playing much better than this suggests and on Saturday they visit a much troubled Arnold Town.

Next Tuesday they have attractive visitors to Green Lane in second placed Bridlington Town, who beat the Steelmen 4-1 over the Christmas period.

Finally I will be at the Welfare ground fore the FA.Vase Fourth Round tie between AFC Emley and Hadleigh United.

Emley have won ten of their last eleven First Division games, whilst Hadleigh have won only one in their last six.