FOLLAND Sports and AFC Portchester face a delayed start to their Sydenhams Premier Division season after the postponement of Friday’s (August 1) big opener at Folland Park.

With Saturday cricket still going strong at their Kings Avenue base, the Planemakers – along with Fawley and Verwood – were allotted Friday evening games.

But several days later Follands were informed that Portchester were unable to play that night because the bulk of their squad had a long- standing date at a wedding.

Follands have agreed to travel to Cowes Sports instead for a friendly, but miffed manager Danny Bowers said: “It’s ridiculous. It’s put us on the back foot straight away.

“It’s not Portchester’s fault,” he stressed.

“We wrote to the league saying we could play on the Friday night at our ground and they’ve gone ahead and arranged it without checking with the other team.

“It wasn’t as if we were told 48 hours after the fixtures were released either, it was eight or ten days later that we found out.

“The lads are devastated, everyone was up for it.

“What gets me is that it always seems to be us on the wrong end of these things. Every rule goes against us.”

With some of their players having now made prior arrangements for Saturday, Follands were unable to accept Portchester’s offer to reverse the fixture to the Wicor Recreation Ground.

It means both clubs will start their season against newly promoted opposition next Tuesday with Follands entertaining Andover Town and Portchester visiting Petersfield.

Portchester’s director of football Mick Jenkins lamented: “It’s disappointing because we’ve worked so hard in pre-season and now we’ve got no fixture on the opening day.

“Also, bearing in mind we’ve spent a lot of time, effort and money on a new hospitality suite, we wanted to benefit from as many Saturday derbies as possible. But our home games against Horndean and Moneyfields – probably our biggest crowds of the season – have both been arranged for a Tuesday night.”

Portchester’s mood, though, has been brightened by the signing of experienced former Portsmouth and AFC Bournemouth midfielder Sammy Igoe from Gosport Borough.

He compensates for the loss of ex- Saint Jake Thomson who has joined Bognor Regis, where Igoe spent the latter end of last season.

Thomson scored for Bognor against Portchester last Friday in a 1-1 friendly draw at Wicor Rec, cancelling out young Curt Robbins’ first-half strike.