How much disruption has there really been to local football this season

PUBLISHED: 12:02 22 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:02 22 March 2018

Footie. Ref miscsp 43-17TI 2258. Picture: Terry Ife

Footie. Ref miscsp 43-17TI 2258. Picture: Terry Ife

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So how much disruption has there really been to local football during this current 2018/18 campaign?

Colin Goodwin, the press officer for the Macron Devon and Exeter League, has a very interesting article on the Macron League website.

In the article, Colin looks at the recent run of postponements that has hit the league hard and he asks the question: ‘some clubs have a heavy schedule, but are things that bad?’

Colin writes: “Not many would disagree with the feeling there have been widespread postponements since the start of December, but are things really that bad? Many football pundits are calling for a mid-winter break, but do the figures, even for this winter, justify that shout?

“There are also calls for the season to start earlier, but there are mixed feelings on that idea because of cricket and holidays. There were very few matches called off until the beginning of December, and a look at the last three months shows the following stats.

“I have only included league matches in here, cup matches affect the level of activity, but most of the County cups were luckily not affected by the weather and the other competitions have had to readjust and do not affect the League greatly. In terms of the overall statistics – in December there were 117 league games played and 44 postponed, in January it was 109 played and 119 postponed and in February it was the case that 141 league games were played and 80 postponed. That all adds up to a three month period with 367 played and 243 postponed which is probably no better or worse than the average winter, and still works out at just over 30 league games completed each week.

“The first two weeks of March have been a disaster with just nine results out of 105 scheduled, and that takes the sum since the start of December to 376 played 352 postponed.

“However, who would have projected that for the first two weeks of spring.

“If we knew this in advance then our winter break would have been from mid-January to mid-March.

“Obviously, if we get more bad weather then things could get really serious. There are 26 clubs still to start the second half of the season, but that happens most years.

“Those with success in the cups such as Colyton and Sidmouth know the score, but that has always been a hurdle to jump, and is still unlike years ago when cup matches had replays. Anyway, fingers crossed the weather will ease soon, if not then we will have something to grumble about!’

It’s a well-thought article and certainly provokes debate. Colin goes on to say that league rules do permit teams to play each other twice in one day (see page 18 of the league handbook), and there is no reason why two clubs could not agree to play a league contest on a Sunday. In both instances this would have to be an agreement between the two clubs and sanctioned by the league. However, he does also make the point that clubs are not allowed to play one match for six points – that is against the rules.

In terms of our local sides and their remaining games count from now until the season’s end, it is: Exmouth Town Reserves 17, Topsham Town 16, Otterton Reserves 13, Exmouth Town 1st team and East Budleigh 10, Lympstone, Woodbury, Otterton and East Budleigh Reserves 9, Budleigh Salterton 1st team 8, Exmouth Spartans, Cranbrook and Budleigh Salterton Reserves 5.

Keep up to speed with all the latest matches in the league at www.defleague.co.uk

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