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DONCASTER Rovers had to admit defeat in their battle against the wintry weather just hours before today’s scheduled Championship game against Reading at the Keepmoat Stadium.

South Yorkshire official Tony Bates called the game off following a 10.30am pitch inspection.

Chief executive Dave Morris and media manager Steve Uttley helped ground staff clear the pitch of the double layer of plastic sheeting which had been down for most of the week and the club, who had also been using hot air blowers, were confident that the game would go ahead.

But Mr Bates said that he was concerned about several areas of the goalmouth area in front of the South Stand and with temperatures not predicted to rise much above freezing, he told club officials that he didn’t feel the situation would improve sufficiently by 3pm.

Rovers had called in a referee on Friday afternoon and he had passed the pitch as being fit and predicted that the game would go ahead providing that there was no severe weather overnight.

The club had been led to believe that temperatures locally would only drop as far as minus two overnight but Uttley said they had plunged to minus six.

The decision to call the game off failed to prevent the Reading team making a wasted journey - they had travelled North yesterday afternoon for their overnight stay following the pitch inspection.