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Weekend washout

Greensnet Editor
Sun 20 Jan 2008, 08:45

Hendon's Ryman League Premier Division fixture with Ashford Town (Middlesex) was postponed at 2.20 on Saturday, disappointing fans who had travelled up to 4,500 miles to see the game. The bad weather was not confined to the Hendon first team. All of the teams, Under-21s, Under-16s and Under-15s, had their matches postponed days before the scheduled kick-off, while the Under-14s had no fixture.

With bad weather forecast for much of England, including, possibly the south of England, Hendon officials took no chances and provisionally arranged for a 9.30 am inspection on Saturday morning. However, as the weather was not as bad as had been feared, this provisional inspection was cancelled.

Although damp, there was little more than a light drizzle during the morning, nothing that would have significantly changed the state of pitch between the morning and lunchtime. When the referee arrived at 1.00, he made a thorough inspection and passed the pitch playable, but with two provisos. Firstly, the pre-match warm-up by both teams didn't cause too much damage to the pitch and there were no downpours.

The Hendon squad warmed up across the breadth of the pitch and didn't leave too many marks. Ashford, however, did some close range sprints and turns in one small area which became heavily scarred.

When the match official looked again at the pitch at 2.15, he saw the damage done to this section of the pitch. Fearing that the remainder of the pitch would suffer similarly, he decided to call off the game.

Although the shuttle sprints warm-up would not mimic game action, the referee felt that too much damage could be done over the 90 minutes.

Hendon manager Gary McCann said, "It was touch and go today and some referees would have gone ahead and others not. I think the pitch we played on when Billericay came here last month was in a worse condition than this one is now, but that's the way it goes.

"It's just a shame that everybody was ready for the game, the players were there and had changed and warmed up, the weather hadn't deteriorated and, of course, fans had travelled to the game."

A couple of fans came from Southampton, but the biggest losers were a family living in Colorado who were in the area on a holiday visiting family and they decided to come to Claremont Road for this fixture. Sadly, for them, especially the "soccer-mad" youngsters their holiday will be over before Hendon have another home game.

Although the family didn't get to see a game, they did at least enjoy a walk around the ground at Claremont Road and they will have the small consolation of being able to return to Colorado with Hendon favours bought from the club shop.

No new date has yet been set for the game, but Hendon have no problems with fixture congestion, having played more games than all the others in the Ryman League Premier Division.