Weekend washout

Greensnet Editor
Mon 25 Nov 2002, 10:00

Hendon were left counting the cost of the heavy overnight rain that fell on both Thursday and Friday night as the weekend's much-anticipated match against Aldershot Town was postponed. The blame cannot be attached to the drains laid during the summer. They did their job, dispersing thousands of gallons of water. Thursday night's rain would not have been enough to postpone the match, but the 12-hour battering that did not end until lunchtime on Saturday ensured that the early morning inspection could have only one outcome.

It should also be pointed out that the new drainage had already improved matters at the notoriously wet Claremont Road. Two weeks ago, the match at home Boreham Wood was postponed on the Tuesday night - again after a rainstorm 24 hours before the game - but, even though more rain fell after the original postponement, the pitch was playable 24 hours later. This after a match on the Saturday.

"Last year, we would not have considered playing on the Saturday, let alone the midweek afterwards too," Secretary Graham Etchell pointed out. "After the Staines game on Tuesday night, the pitch was hand-rolled the next day and would certainly have been ready for Saturday if it hadn't been for the rain."

Hendon's joint-webmaster, Steve Rogers, explained. "I went into the ground with Graham on Friday and we lifted up one of the manhole covers. The water was absolutely pouring into the drain."

"I have never seen our drains working like that," admitted Mr Etchell, "but we have had just too much water."

A crowd in excess of 1,000 was expected at Claremont Road, with Aldershot antcipating well over 700 travelling from Hampshire, but the attendance is likely to be around a third of that when the game is now played, probably in midweek either in December or January. It isn't just the difference between a crowd of 1,000 and 400 that will hit the club. There are the other things, such as the programmes printed in anticipation of a big Saturday crowd, the extra staff hired to ensure the big day went trouble-free and the publicity generated from a top-of-the-table clash.

Hendon's blank weekend ran right through the club because not only were the first team idle, but the reserves - at Hanwell Town in the Suburban League Cup on Saturday - and all 5 youth teams due to play on Sunday had their games called off.