Football in Berkshire
Opinion

Early postponements or leave it late?

Storm Ciara saw blanket postponement of fixtures by football leagues in Berkshire

Early postponements or leave it late?

With Storm Ciara flying in across the country last weekend, to be followed shortly by Storm Dennis, the thorny issue of when exactly games should be postponed has reared its ugly head.

It goes without saying, travelling to a game whether you are a player, volunteer or supporter, only to find out its been called off is annoying and wastes both time and money.

What exactly can be done though? A number of leagues over the weekend – the Southern Region and Thames Valley Women’s Leagues as well as the Bracknell Sunday League all blanket postponed their fixtures early on Sunday morning.

Where there are obvious nationwide weather warnings this is probably the best answer and credit to those leagues for taking it out of the clubs hands – having run a club myself there are always pressures to get the game on – not least from the players who want to play.

It gets a bit more difficult though when it’s localised weather conditions. Both Reading City and Binfield were forced to call off their fixtures on Monday night at short notice owing to a torrential downpour across the area. City were criticised online after commuters who use trains that go past the ground in the morning saw the Scours Lane pitch was waterlogged. I understand though the clubs ground staff had been busy all afternoon clearing the surface water and the game was on until the later downpour. Binfield, I don’t think they’ve had to call off a game this season at Hill Farm Lane so this really was a rarity.

In both cases the opposition had already set off for the fixture, and the circumstances surrounding the postponements mean that early pitch inspections wouldn’t have helped. As for looking at the weather forecast, when have any of us been able to rely on that?

I don’t have a solution, but I do think that when I set out on a journey to a football match, I understand there is the possibility it may be called off. That understanding means I am far less likely to vent on social media, which generally isn’t helpful to anyone!

Updates on all Saturday’s postponements and the games that are on here. This article was due to be part of match day programmes on 15th February 2020.

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Tom Canning

Tom is the co-editor of Football in Berkshire. He has played at the lowest possible level of football. In real life Tom works for Reach PLC. Former manager of Binfield Ladies in the Thames Valley Women's League.

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