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The timing of postponements

 

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oxpete
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Feb 14, 2018, 7:57 PM

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The timing of postponements Can't Post or Reply Privately

I read a comment recently made by Havant & Waterlooville manager Lee Bradbury, concerning the postponement of his side's match at Truro City.

He said that, even though he had been informed on the Friday that the pitch was unlikely to be playable (by who and to what extent, I don't know), the referee was not allowed to postpone the match until after making a pitch inspection on the day itself.

Remembering that even a local referee inspecting the pitch might not necessarily live around the corner (especially in rural Cornwall), I'm guessing the earliest a pitch inspection would take would be between 9am and 10am. With Havant being over 200 miles from Truro (with very little motorway), their team bus had already reached Dorchester before news was relayed to them that the match was, as expected, off.

Reading the newspaper, the Havant camp seemed to have a 'C'est la vie' attitude about the day. However, I've now noticed that over half the clubs in National South are actually even away further from Truro, with Chelmsford being nearly 300 miles away (admittedly with much more motorway in between than Havant, Bognor, Eastbourne and Whitehawk have).

My question is: what exactly are the regulations regarding early postponements at the higher end of the pyramid? Is it true that this match could not be postponed (due to pitch condition) on the Friday? Do Leagues take distances travelled (or potential sizes of crowds) into consideration? At what levels do matches require a pitch inspection on the day? How much is down to the referee's own initiative when it comes to timing?





GRIFFON
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Feb 14, 2018, 8:12 PM

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Post #2 of 36 (2956 views)
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Re: [oxpete] The timing of postponements [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

In the Midland Football League we have to have them inspected on the day (Levels 5,6,7 etc)


mick
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Feb 14, 2018, 8:39 PM

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Re: [oxpete] The timing of postponements [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

There have been recent cases where Football League matches have been called off the day before.


Tykeoldboy
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Feb 14, 2018, 8:42 PM

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Post #4 of 36 (2891 views)
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Re: [GRIFFON] The timing of postponements [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

As an idea, if there is a possibility that a match will be postponed then could league rules insist that the referee travels to the ground a day early, or at least the evening before, so an inspection can be made before teams begin long journeys' It would be more cost effective for the clubs involved to pay for the overnight travel and cheap hotel for one official than for a team bus plus the other officials to make wasted costly long journeys.


pitch 63
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Feb 14, 2018, 9:15 PM

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Post #5 of 36 (2845 views)
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In Reply To
As an idea, if there is a possibility that a match will be postponed then could league rules insist that the referee travels to the ground a day early, or at least the evening before, so an inspection can be made before teams begin long journeys' It would be more cost effective for the clubs involved to pay for the overnight travel and cheap hotel for one official than for a team bus plus the other officials to make wasted costly long journeys.


The theory is great, but getting overnight accommodation within 30 miles of me on a Friday night is going to cost 100 with food. Then what time does the referee leave work on a Friday? I know one referee that works a night shift starting at 10 pm.


Tykeoldboy
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Feb 14, 2018, 9:46 PM

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In Reply To

In Reply To
As an idea, if there is a possibility that a match will be postponed then could league rules insist that the referee travels to the ground a day early, or at least the evening before, so an inspection can be made before teams begin long journeys' It would be more cost effective for the clubs involved to pay for the overnight travel and cheap hotel for one official than for a team bus plus the other officials to make wasted costly long journeys.


The theory is great, but getting overnight accommodation within 30 miles of me on a Friday night is going to cost 100 with food. Then what time does the referee leave work on a Friday? I know one referee that works a night shift starting at 10 pm.


Surely each league have officials spread around it's catchment area so there must be an official close enough to each ground to be able to make reasonably short journey to make an inspection early enough. The official making the inspection might not be the match referee but they are league officials and they do (or should) work to the same criteria. I am assuming that league have spare officials each week that have not been allocated a game.


oxpete
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Feb 14, 2018, 10:20 PM

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Post #7 of 36 (2759 views)
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I've now noticed that over half the clubs in National South are actually even away further from Truro, with Chelmsford being nearly 300 miles away (admittedly with much more motorway in between than Havant, Bognor, Eastbourne and Whitehawk have).


Ooops! Think I'm a little guilty of some south-east-centricity there. Obviously this sort of thing can affect the players, staff and fans of Truro City FC on their away travels just as much as anyone else in the National South. I wasn't trying to suggest this is in any way TCFC's fault.

Sorry about that. Blush





Ropemaker
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Feb 15, 2018, 12:05 AM

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Post #8 of 36 (2630 views)
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Surely each league have officials spread around it's catchment area so there must be an official close enough to each ground to be able to make reasonably short journey to make an inspection early enough. The official making the inspection might not be the match referee but they are league officials and they do (or should) work to the same criteria. I am assuming that league have spare officials each week that have not been allocated a game.

As we all know, the local ref could pass the pitch fit only for the match referee to then call it off



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bigjmc
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Feb 15, 2018, 8:18 AM

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Post #9 of 36 (2378 views)
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As an idea, if there is a possibility that a match will be postponed then could league rules insist that the referee travels to the ground a day early, or at least the evening before, so an inspection can be made before teams begin long journeys' It would be more cost effective for the clubs involved to pay for the overnight travel and cheap hotel for one official than for a team bus plus the other officials to make wasted costly long journeys.



The FA or Leagues would never adopt such a solution it's far too sensible!


HarryC
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Feb 15, 2018, 8:35 AM

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Post #10 of 36 (2356 views)
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Re: [bigjmc] The timing of postponements [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

On Wednesday 14th Kidlington were at home to Bideford, with all the rain on Tuesday they held an early inspection before Bideford would travel and the pitch was passed fine then. During the day the Rain set in again and by the time Bideford and the officials arrived there were puddles on the pitch and still raining. Only because Bideford had arrived the ref let the game start but abandoned it before half time, leaving Bideford to have another 380 mile round trip another day.


SWP-Phil
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Feb 15, 2018, 9:04 AM

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Post #11 of 36 (2319 views)
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Re: [HarryC] The timing of postponements [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

The FA "guidance" document on pitch inspections in the NLS says the timing is upto individual leagues to specify - the SWP is "On the day of the game at such time as necessary to save the away team travelling" - that was chosen as a game with a 200 mile round trip needs an earlier call than one with two Plymouth clubs playing each other.

The guidance also says "When the local weather conditions are known to be extreme (e.g. prolonged severe frost, clear water logging or heavy snow) then the game can be postponed at the discretion of the
League following consultation with the League Secretary. Should the League agree to an early postponement under such circumstances there will be no requirement for a pitch inspection."

How each league interprets that can vary - I look for Met Office warnings being in place, maybe Police advice about travelling etc etc but at the end of the day IF I am sure clubs are not going to abuse the situation then I will trigger that "rule" on a Friday. But each matchday is different - so looking at this coming weekend the forecast is better and even if club X says their pitch is under water I am not going to allow early call offs this week, as to do so can encourage lots of clubs with a player or 2 missing etc to use that to their advantage!



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Tim
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Feb 15, 2018, 9:06 AM

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Post #12 of 36 (2311 views)
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On Wednesday 14th Kidlington were at home to Bideford, with all the rain on Tuesday they held an early inspection before Bideford would travel and the pitch was passed fine then. During the day the Rain set in again and by the time Bideford and the officials arrived there were puddles on the pitch and still raining. Only because Bideford had arrived the ref let the game start but abandoned it before half time, leaving Bideford to have another 380 mile round trip another day.


At the time the inspection was held, heavy rain was forecast for the next 10 hours. It defies belief that Bideford had to travel, let alone that the game started. Lunatics are still running the asylums.


ladderman
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Feb 15, 2018, 9:09 AM

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Post #13 of 36 (2304 views)
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Re: [oxpete] The timing of postponements [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

My irony meter has just exploded. Havant moaning about late postponements really is hilarious. Any club who's spent a few years in Conference South has been dragged down there to be greeted by a swamp that had somehow been passed by a local ref.
Bradbury's exact words when we were to down there on a Tuesday to be greeted by a pond were "tough shit". So tough shit Lee. It's called Karma


revandyw
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Feb 15, 2018, 9:31 AM

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Post #14 of 36 (2275 views)
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My irony meter has just exploded. Havant moaning about late postponements really is hilarious. Any club who's spent a few years in Conference South has been dragged down there to be greeted by a swamp that had somehow been passed by a local ref.
Bradbury's exact words when we were to down there on a Tuesday to be greeted by a pond were "tough shit". So tough shit Lee. It's called Karma

In the original post, Oxpete says "Reading the newspaper, the Havant camp seemed to have a 'C'est la vie' attitude about the day.". How do you translate this into "Havant moaning"?


CleethorpesOggy
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Feb 15, 2018, 10:07 AM

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Post #15 of 36 (2223 views)
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Re: [revandyw] The timing of postponements [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

We (like most clubs) have suffered this season with several postponements, including two late ones at Bradley.

The first one in October against Belper Town was due to a deluge at lunchtime and called off by the ref at 2.15pm. The general consensus of opinion was the pitch was OK and I think the match should have started, with the visitors being very keen to play.

Saturday, against Basford United, was a different kettle of fish. I don't know how the pitch was passed at 10.30am. To my mind, it was an absolute swamp and it was no surprise when it was pulled around 2pm. So there you have it, what one ref is happy with... another isn't!

What can be done about it? Plenty, with a bit of imagination...

1) Start the season a week earlier, allowing two extra fixtures.
2) Play a couple of rounds of League Cups, etc as pre-season games. This will be more interesting to fans than friendlies and likely to attract better crowds than a rainy October night!
3) Do not arrange midweek games between, say, mid-December and mid-February.
4) Re-arrange games quicker (take note Northern Premier League!!). I don't know what the problem is with the NPL but it takes them weeks and weeks to re-schedule postponements. The NCEL are excellent at this - it usually only takes them a day or two.

Finally, I will give you an example. Clee Town's league match against Carlton Town next Wednesday is now off due to their postponement versus Dunkirk in the Notts Senior Cup.

Now, two solutions! Either play the NSC match in March (it is the semi and final is not until May!) or don't schedule the league match when it MIGHT be called off. Clee could easily have played, say, Gresley next week and Carlton later. Too late now of course...

Empire protection I assume!!

EDIT:
The Carlton match is back on following a chase-up from our secretary. The NSC semi-final is now in March - it seems that problems can be sorted with a little communication...

Credit where credit's due - well done to the NPL and Notts FA.


(This post was edited by CleethorpesOggy on Feb 15, 2018, 3:22 PM)


kirby knitters
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Feb 15, 2018, 10:24 AM

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Post #16 of 36 (2190 views)
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Re: [CleethorpesOggy] The timing of postponements [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Not sure about starting the season a week earlier but spot on with all your other suggestions and it doesn't take much imagination to know it makes a whole lot of sense. I have been banging on for years about local/league cup cup games replacing PSF fixtures.




The UCL sees Leicester Nirvana who still have 18 league games left and now have been forced to cancel next Tuesday against Oadby to play a LC Semi Final when the final isn't for months. What is it with these people. Players and fans in general couldn't give a toss about such competitions yet all over the country local FA's are forcing the postponement of vital league games to accommodate such rubbish.


Empire protection is spot on and they adopt such ridiculous tactics simply because they are in a position to do so.!!


blackdouglas
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Feb 15, 2018, 10:36 AM

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Post #17 of 36 (2167 views)
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Re: [oxpete] The timing of postponements [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

As far as I am aware the Southern League won't allow a postponement on anything but the day of the match itself. So as per the Kidlington/Bideford example, you can't say the night before "the pitch is barely playable now but we are expecting 10>14hrs of heavy rain overnight which will make it unplayable by kick off tomorrow" because all the SL will do is say "then make that decision tomorrow".

Can't talk about the other two Step 3 & 4 leagues though.



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stingray
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Feb 15, 2018, 10:42 AM

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In Reply To
2) Play a couple of rounds of League Cups, etc as pre-season games. This will be more interesting to fans than friendlies and likely to attract better crowds than a rainy October night!
3) Do not arrange midweek games between, say, mid-December and mid-February.
4) Re-arrange games quicker (take note Northern Premier League!!). I don't know what the problem is with the NPL but it takes them weeks and weeks to re-schedule postponements. The NCEL are excellent at this - it usually only takes them a day or two.

2) Agreed - I'd also play League/County Cups pre-season - or preferably scrap them altogether as they only exist to satisfy the blazers and surely no club makes any profit from them

3) In fairness, the Leagues rarely schedule games for those midweeks, at least not in the original fixture lists - it's usually the clubs who do that.

4) The NPL often leave a Saturday in March completely blank. Perhaps sometimes they like to wait until enough postponements/rearrangements exist to enable them to construct an extra surrogate round of games. After all, we can't have clubs taking it easy at that stage of the season, can we?Cool


(This post was edited by stingray on Feb 15, 2018, 10:46 AM)


HantsLondoner
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Feb 15, 2018, 12:01 PM

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Re: [Ropemaker] The timing of postponements [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Yes, the thing that really irritates me is when a local ref is brought in early, passes the pitch fit, then the match ref turns up 30 mins/an hour before the game, with no rain in between, and decides it isn't fit.

IMO you need one decision, and run with it. Unless there is a deluge or something like it near to kick-off. Frost is a different matter.
The match ref may be of a higher level than the local ref but there needs to be a cut-off point.



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Richard Rundle
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Feb 15, 2018, 1:15 PM

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Post #20 of 36 (1939 views)
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On Wednesday 14th Kidlington were at home to Bideford, with all the rain on Tuesday they held an early inspection before Bideford would travel and the pitch was passed fine then. During the day the Rain set in again and by the time Bideford and the officials arrived there were puddles on the pitch and still raining. Only because Bideford had arrived the ref let the game start but abandoned it before half time, leaving Bideford to have another 380 mile round trip another day.


Bideford desparately want to play games, they are a minimum of 3 games behind everyone else ahead of them in the table, having had (I believe) 11 postponements so far this winter. While a few of them have been home games, the majority have been the longer distance away fixtures.


Mishi
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Feb 15, 2018, 1:19 PM

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Post #21 of 36 (1929 views)
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Re: [HantsLondoner] The timing of postponements [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

On Friday we were told by Lowestoft Town that they were unlikely to play. They kindly agreed to an 8.30am inspection on Saturday morning, as we only have to pay driver costs on our coaches once they leave their depot, so no looses on our part.

Realise this is more 'local' than some Southern League or Northern Premier, but for longer distance the leagues should use common sense. And some league/county officials wonder why they're all labelled as the archetypal 'buffoons in blazers!"



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exile
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Feb 15, 2018, 1:26 PM

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Re: [stingray] The timing of postponements [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


In Reply To

In Reply To
2) Play a couple of rounds of League Cups, etc as pre-season games. This will be more interesting to fans than friendlies and likely to attract better crowds than a rainy October night!
3) Do not arrange midweek games between, say, mid-December and mid-February.
4) Re-arrange games quicker (take note Northern Premier League!!). I don't know what the problem is with the NPL but it takes them weeks and weeks to re-schedule postponements. The NCEL are excellent at this - it usually only takes them a day or two.

2) Agreed - I'd also play League/County Cups pre-season - or preferably scrap them altogether as they only exist to satisfy the blazers and surely no club makes any profit from them

3) In fairness, the Leagues rarely schedule games for those midweeks, at least not in the original fixture lists - it's usually the clubs who do that.

4) The NPL often leave a Saturday in March completely blank. Perhaps sometimes they like to wait until enough postponements/rearrangements exist to enable them to construct an extra surrogate round of games. After all, we can't have clubs taking it easy at that stage of the season, can we?Cool


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Whilst I don't disagree with anything you say it doesn't seem to answer the question of late postponements. The only sure way to avoid is to call the match off first thing in the morning if there is the slightest chance that it will have to be postponed. And that will lead to an awful lot of midweek games. Otherwise we are stuck with everybody just doing their best and using common sense but even then there will be late downpours that will scupper any pitch.


lovin spoonful
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Feb 15, 2018, 1:31 PM

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Re: [Mishi] The timing of postponements [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

In 2001 Falmouth Town embarked on a mahoosive trip to Bedlington Terriers in the FA Vase. This meant leaving on Friday morning. The weather was atrocious on the day with rain and snow and bloody cold. The referee admitted that if it was a normal league game it would have been cancelled but full and total credit to the Bedlington lot for getting the game on. Even the manager was out forking the pitch. God only knows what would have happened if the game had been cancelled. A whole day it took to make the journey but despite the result it was well worth it. Still cursing that late equaliser and the extra time...



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TrevorT
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Feb 15, 2018, 1:50 PM

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Re: [Ropemaker] The timing of postponements [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

I have found the whole 'passing fit' judgement to be subjective anyway, but I have encountered a number of postponements where the official reason is waterlogged when actually the pitch is wet but playable.

I don't know how much influence a home club has on a local official (ie not match ref) that is probably known to them personally, but would suspect a number of games are postponed when the pitch is not actually waterlogged. I would also expect this to be more prevalent for groundsharers when a tenant has a home fixture and the main club's groundsman has an opinion!


Digdagdog
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Feb 15, 2018, 2:23 PM

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Re: [TrevorT] The timing of postponements [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

The other issue is that, even if passed fit, with many clubs playing a game will ruin the pitch for the following game which is, of course a contentious issue for those clubs that ground-share. There was a tweet earlier this week of the state of one tenants pitch after the landlord had used it just 3 days before and it looked like someone had ploughed it.

A simplistic view, I know, but if a fraction of the 4.6bn TV money went toward pitch maintenance/drainage at levels below Level 5...



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