With games coming thick and fast in the Uhlsport Hellenic League, the League Management Committee have come in for a lot of stick as of late and some of it is completely justified.
Brimscombe & Thrupp saw last night’s home match against Highmoor Ibis postponed so that has been rescheduled for next Wednesday 20th April.
What’s the problem you might ask but take a closer look and you will see the Lilywhites have to play tomorrow night, Saturday, Monday and Wednesday before a cup final on Thursday 21st April.
“I’m gobsmacked at this re-arrangement, let alone astonished at the run-in before tonight’s re-arrangement. I wonder what has gone through the mind of the person who has scheduled this fixture, would love to know.” – Jezza via HL fans forum
There are also games for B&T Reserves next Tuesday and Thursday so with no youth team at all, the squad is going to be tested to the fullest.
Contrast that with fellow finalists Ascot United who finished their campaign last night and who now have ten days rest before the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup Final, so we know who we have made clear favourites and it’s not the side from Gloucestershire.
Brimscombe boss ‘slams’ Hellenic League
Lilywhites boss Sam Prior spoke to the Gloucester Citizen about the pile up and didn’t hold back in his criticism: “I’m going to make no secrets about it, we will be playing a reserve team in the league games and saving our full strength squad for the cup fixtures.
“The remaining Hellenic games have no relevance to us whatsoever.
“The league have no idea what they’re doing, Ascot, who we play in the final now have a 10 day rest while in the meantime we play four times,” he said.
“They (The Hellenic league) have offered us no help whatsoever. Nothing will change, The Toolstation Western League was extended to account for postponements and player health was considered but not in the Hellenic.
“I don’t know if the League is incentivised by the FA to finish on schedule or for what reason the season can not be extended but I don’t see anything changing for next season, especially with talks of two teams being added.” Read the full article here.
Avoiding the drop
Tuffley Rovers – desperately battling to avoid the drop – have to travel to Oxford City Nomads this Friday 15th April before travelling to another Oxfordshire side nineteen hours later in the form of newly crowned champions Kidlington.
Other clubs face fixture backlogs too as the Hellenic League insists all league matches must be played by this coming Saturday 16th April.
As alluded to above, matches have to be scheduled for next week and with three of the the surrounding step five league not finishing until Saturday 30th April and one finishing on Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May and even Saturday 7th May in one case.
A possible plan?
With his knowledge, Duds has looked at how the Hellenic League can better manage the fixtures situation next season. See the full template here.
We have one table for the Premier Division and one for Division One East & West.
It’s rumoured that the Premier Division will increase the 22 team so his Premier Division basis in on that number with each team playing 42 league matches. His basis for each of the Division One’s is 14 teams meaning 26 matches.
Each division could have less teams so the scheduling should become even easier.
In addition, Duds has not scheduled any league matches in the midweek period following FA competitions in case of replays.
Changes to the cups
One big difference is the Hellenic Cups. Instead of having the Bluefin Sports (UHL) Challenge Cup and also the Bluefin Sports (UHL) Supplementary Challenge Cup for all the teams losing in the first half of the first cup, Duds has revamped the cups.
Gone are those two cups and they are replaced by the Bluefin Sports Premier Division Cup and the Bluefin Sports Division One Cup.
The Bluefin Sports Premier Division Cup has all fixtures scheduled for midweek whilst the Bluefin Sports Division One Cup has all fixtures scheduled on the weekend as several teams are without lights.
On match days where there are FA competitions, County FA competitions, either of the Bluefin Sports Cups or the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup, there are no league matches scheduled at all.
The all important free dates
There are already free dates in the proposal which could have postponed matches scheduled on whilst there is the possibility of scheduling league matches on cup days for sides not in that particular competition.
We don’t have the FA or county FA competition dates for next season but we went along with similar to last year. If cup dates do change it is easy enough to swap around a league week with them.
Duds has spent a few hours working on this looking at previous seasons and using his knowledge as a club secretary to come up with a workable solution.
As already mentioned above, there are plenty of existing free dates as well as cup dates for teams knocked out of that competition to cope with the inevitable weather related postponements.
We think this is a good proposal and we hope it sparks healthy debate. Hell, we’ll even let the Hellenic League use this template if they so wish.
We are interested in your views so please comment and let us know what you think.