Exmouth Town Boxing Day derby game called off owing to waterlogged Southern Road pitch

PUBLISHED: 17:36 24 December 2012

The gates were closed at Exmouth Town football club at the weekend. Photo by Terry Ife ref exsp 6038-52-12TI

The gates were closed at Exmouth Town football club at the weekend. Photo by Terry Ife ref exsp 6038-52-12TI

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Exmouth Town have been forced to cancel the much-anticipated Boxing Day derby clash with Budleigh Salterton.

It’s a massive disappointment for all concerned as the game would undoubtedly have drawn a bumper crowd to Southern Road for the traditional festive fixture between the two clubs.

It also means that two successive home matches around Christmas – they also had to postpone the Saturday, December 22 home game with Teignmouth Town - will now need to be re-scheduled in what is looking an ever-increasing second half of the season fixture schedule.

Town’s John Dibsdall says: “Calling the game off was most certainly not the easiest of decisions as it was Boxing Day and Budleigh and therefore a good money-spinner. At any other time there would have been no discussion and no hesitation in calling the game off. When we inspected on Christmas Eve afternoon there was water lying in a number of places with more rain forecast. There is a lot of football still to be played and the League were looking for a decision today rather than tomorrow. We therefore thought it was in the best interests of all concerned, both clubs, players and officials to call the game off. If we could have guaranteed thirty six hours of sun, a drying wind and no rain at all then we might have been in with a chance. Normally the Southern Road ground drains extremely well, but with the pitch and surrounding area already saturated and an exceptionally high water table the surface could not cope with the incredible rainfall recently experienced.”

On Saturday Town are due to play at Appledore and will be hoping that the game goes ahead. They have already played fewer games than all of their league opponents and with their continued success in two cup competitions are already facing a fixture backlog that could have a damaging effect on their title aspirations.

If the game goes ahead on Saturday Town will be looking to maintain their unbeaten league record against a side that recently inflicted a 5-1 defeat on Budleigh and have won three of their last five games.

The two narrow defeats were at the hands of two of Town’s closest rivals going down 3-2 to both Stoke Gabriel and Newton Abbot Spurs. Last season Town recorded a 1-0 victory at the North Devon club with Ben Clay scoring his first goal for Town.

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