Thursday, 26 December 2013

Askern P v P Harworth Colliery - CMFL North & Gainsborough Trinity A v A North Ferriby United - Conference North

Hmm, what a complete waste of a day ...
Boxing Day at Manor Way, Askern
CMFL North
Askern v Harworth Colliery 
1pm kick off
Postponed - Frozen pitch
Thankfully, I was just just about to set off when the phone calls and text messages started coming through that the lunchtime kick off at Askern had been postponed.
With the sun sitting high in the sky and not a single trace of any morning frost left on the ground, I was taken aback to learn that it was due to the Manor Way pitch being frozen.
I couldn't imagine that any other ground, anywhere in the locality, would still be unplayable by the scheduled kick off time of 1pm, which was still some two and a half hours away at the time. 
But by 10:45am the FA Full Time website was also carrying the message 'POSTPONED; Frozen Pitch due to early kick off - MKS', the initials indicate that the decision had been sanctioned by MK Senior, the CMFL General Secretary. 
So I can only assume that it had either been verified after an inspection by Mark himself or that a local referee, at the very least, had given the Manor Way playing surface the once over.
Alas, we'd consented to and wholly condoned Askern's request of an early start several weeks ago, so it was too late to alter the kick off time to 3pm now, thus allowing the pitch more time to thaw, or to offer to play it at Harworth's Recreation Ground instead, where the pitch was frost free and perfectly playable. 
When all is said and done, Bircotes is based 20 miles closer to the equatorial line than chilly Askern and it obviously enjoys a far more pleasant climate than they get in north Doncaster as a consequence. 
Damn you Jack Frost!
To compound our frustration, Harworth had a full strength side available today and they were chomping at the bit to make amends for Saturday's defeat at Westella.
The Colliery are next in action at Newark Town on Saturday now, weather permitting of course. The game has a 3pm kick off, if you're tempted to come along (and I can imagine you probably are) the address is: Station Road, Collingham, NG23 7RA.
After I'd been roped into running errands and being the family taxi driver, until well after it was too late to get over the M62 to Rochdale to give the Stags some moral support, as they slide ominously into a relegation fight, while last season's Blue Square Bet Conference championship winning manager Paul Cox increasingly seems to be losing his grip at the MTFC helm; a decision was made to go to another local game instead.
And after considering all of the options and a lively game of 'eenie, meenie, miney, mo', we opted on a short journey over the Trent to Gainsborough Trinity, after I'd enthused about how good a game their 2-2 draw with Brackley Town had been when I visited the Northolme earlier this month.
Boxing Day at the Northolme, Gainsborough
Skrill Conference North
Gainsborough Trinity v North Ferriby United
3pm kick off 
Match abandoned 62nd minute
Score was 0-0 at the time
A lively enough game all told.
In fact, both teams had opportunities to open the scoring inside the first minute.
Trinity ought to have gone in ahead at the break, having spurned numerous chances as they put the visitors goal under a lot of pressure for the last twenty minutes or so of the first half.
But after the interval, North Ferriby were having a good spell and had Gainsborough on the back foot and soaking up a lot of attacking play deep in their own half for a while.
There was an ironic cheer as the lights on one of the pylons went out, but play went on briefly, because the other seven pylons were still fully lit and the minor distraction had made hardly any difference at all.
But on 62 minutes, the referee stopped the game and approached the visitors dug out, where the United manager Billy Heath was complaining about the situation.
The referee then decided to take the teams off while the pylon was repaired.
The Trinity manager Steve Housham and the majority of the players wanted the game to continue, but in these days of 'health and safety gone mad' the ref had no alternative but to take action once Heath had spoken up.
The floodlights along the offending touchline were switched off and powered up again in an attempt to rescue the game.
Briefly it looked promising as the lights on the defective pylon flickered, but then went out again.
After twenty minutes, it became apparent that the electrics weren't about to be repaired any time soon and the call was made to abandon the game.
Personally, I think it was the wrong decision, as the effect on the lighting of the overall playing surface was minimal, to say the least.
I guess Billy Heath must have had his reasons for voicing his concerns, but his insistence on wanting the players taken off, seemed odd to me, given that, if anything, his team were in the ascendancy at the time of the power outage.
Left click for larger image
Pictured above.
Bad light (apparently) stops play and the referee takes the teams off because of a floodlight failure.
The offending light pylon is in the top left quarter of the picture.
The pitch was well lit and looked perfectly safe to play on from where I was stood.
In my humble opinion and whilst maintaining a dignified aura of calm and restraint, I would have to say, using language appropriate to pre watershed family viewing and with all due respect to those concerned ... what a completely effing bullcrap decision!

I had an absolutely brilliant Christmas Day, but now I'm having a jinxed Boxing Day.
I won't go to the Nottingham Forest v Queens Park Rangers game as planned tonight now, just to be on the safe side, or attempt to watch it on TV and run the risk of my satellite dish being blown off the front of the house.

Footnote. Added 11:38pm 26/12/2013:
If you can guess who's satellite dish actually was damaged during tonight's strong winds.
Well, there isn't actually a prize for getting the correct answer. FFS!