Weather looks certain to have the final say
- Credit: IAN BURT
The big freeze has virtually wiped out football across East Anglia this weekend – but Lowestoft Town are not panicking about their growing fixture backlog.
The region’s non-league clubs, including The Trawlerboys, King’s Lynn Town and Wroxham, are all without matches after today’s schedule fell foul of the cold snap yesterday afternoon.
Lowestoft’s inactivity over the Christmas period through a series of postponements has already seem them slip 13 points, and four matches, behind league leaders Whitehawk. It is a position the Blues have fallen foul of before in the Ryman Premier League. Only last season they frittered away points in February from their games in hand, allowing Billericay to build an advantage which Lowestoft were unable overhaul.
However, Lowestoft’s joint-boss Micky Chapman, who was set to take his side to promotion rivals Kingstonian this afternoon, believes the Blues have learned from their mistakes and built a squad with enough quality to sustain their championship challenge.
“This is a new season – last season we had games in hand and we had a difficult period where we didn’t turn those games into points,” he said.
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“But this is a different season and we are a lot stronger now. We’ve got more strength in depth and all we can is take one game at a time and keep grinding out the points. We’ve got a lot of confidence in these boys – as soon as we get points on the board we start to think about the next one.”
Evo-Stik Division One South Lynn attempted to call off their home match with Kidsgrove Athletic on Thursday by sending pictures of their Walks ground to their league’s committee.
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They were told, despite the pitch being covered in snow and ice, that a decision to call the game off would not be made before noon yesterday – the time the Northern League had been given “special measures” to start postponing fixtures from.
Evo-Stik operations manager Alan Allcock said: “We felt the special measures were prudent and necessary as the welfare of our clubs and their supporters is paramount.
“With so many people travelling to and from games around the country and the weather not expected to improve, this will allow clubs and officials to make sensible decisions in the best interests of everybody involved in individual fixtures.”
Linnets boss Gary Setchell described it as a common-sense decision to abandon the game yesterday afternoon – more than 24 hours before it was meant to start. He said: “An early call gives clubs a chance to arrange training and cancel coach travel. Looking at the forecast it was a common-sense decision. You don’t want supporters travelling up and down motorways in this weather for the sake of it. If you knew when the snow was going to come each year you could have a winter break but you just don’t know when it will.
“You have to take the postponements on the chin. You know there’s going to be a couple of weeks in the season where you won’t play matches so you have to make plans to have a mini pre-season to keep the lads ticking over.”
All Thurlow Nunn Premier Division and First Division games were called off yesterday in one fell swoop after the league used “extremely exceptional circumstances” to step in and wipe out their fixtures in one hit.
Secretary Nigel Spurling said: “The postponements were a league decision based on common sense to save aggravation. A club usually has to get the match referee, or someone of equal standing, to call a game off. But they have to pay for them to do that. We knew there would be no matches, the short-term forecast was atrocious, so we tried to help clubs.”
Wisbech Town’s FA Vase fourth round tie at Midlands-based Gornal also failed to beat the cold snap.
Almost all grassroots games in Saturday and Sunday leagues across the region have also been, or are likely to be, called off.