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Rain blamed for teams dropping out of Hampshire grass-roots football league
The horrendous wet weather that has caused chaos across the region has been blamed for teams dropping out of a local grass-roots league.
Southampton & District Sunday League Secretary Greg Dickson relates the bad weather to teams withdrawing.
“Our team numbers have dwindled in recent years,” he said.
“Players aren’t coming back to football because, when a bit of bad weather comes along and postponements happen, they go off and do other things.
“So, when fixtures kick off again, they are used to not playing and don’t come back.
“Two teams have dropped out this season and there could be another one on the way.
“It’s a pity but I know a lot of players who would rather stay in bed, nice and cosy, than come out in the cold and wet to play football on a Sunday morning.
“I don’t blame them.”
C&G and Hamble Club are the two clubs that have folded with Foresters close to leaving after postponing several matches.
Dixon’s league have not had a match played in over a month.
The Sydenhams Wessex League has had 65 postponements, while the Drew Smith Southampton Saturday League and the City of Southampton Sunday League also had a total wash-out last weekend.
The only fixture, with the exception of Saints, in the county to take place last Saturday was Headley United v Alton Town Reserves in the Hampshire Intermediate Cup.
Hazel Andrews, secretary of the City of Southampton Sunday League, attempted to counter the bad weather when planning the fixtures last summer.
“We’re up to date,” she said. “I deliberately made the leagues smaller so that if anything we’d finish early.
“And if we do, we have supplementary cups that we can play.
“The pitches are like swimming pools at the moment.
“The problems aren’t over but we’re doing all right at the moment as a league.
“If it continues there could be trouble but, as of yet, we’re not having issues.
“We’ve tried to learn from previous season and make preparations for this eventuality.
“It has come a bit earlier than usual but, with our festive break and smaller leagues, there is more chance of us coping.”
The Wessex League has been hit incredibly hard recently.
Over the festive period, just two games were played on Boxing Day and a complete wash-out took place the Saturday before Christmas.
“This weather has come earlier than expected. We’ve tried to learn our lesson in the past but you still can’t plan for this kind of exceptional weather,” Wessex fixtures secretary Ian Craig said.
“Any games that happen this weekend will be a complete bonus.
“What we wanted is teams to be at the halfway point just before Christmas and we achieved that.”
Rod Sutherland, the secretary of the Drew Smith League, echoed Craig’s sentiments.
“The bad weather was always going to come along sooner or later,” he said.
“The weather will pick up so I have some more optimism for this weekend.
“The water table is so high at the moment, the new water is just adding on top.”
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