Local derby postponed due to frozen pitch

By Connor Steel

SALISBURY FC have announced their league derby against Gosport Borough has been postponed due to a frozen pitch surface at the Raymond Mcenhill Stadium; club officials and the match referees conducting their early inspection that deemed conditions unplayable just hours before Saturday’s match kicking off from 3pm.

Player welfare was considered as playing on a frozen pitch surface can lead to serious injuries, with a higher risk of ankle, back and knee issues due to slippery surfaces and potential heavy impacts. Combined with the risks of icy surfaces in stadium car parks and fan safety, many teams have decided to postpone their games.

Other postponements include Fleetlands’ journey to Millbrook, Horndean’s home match against Christchurch and Eastleigh’s scheduled game versus Woking. But Portchester’s tie against Hamble Club will go ahead as planned whilst Fareham’s journey to Cowes Sports was deemed playable following two morning inspections.

This update was confirmed at approximately 10am on Saturday after freezing overnight temperatures hit the county, which continues a prolonged period of icy weather from recent days. It is further the second Gosport match to be called off in 2023 after heavy rain resulted in a rearrangement of their visit to Plymouth Parkway.

A large crowd was expected to attend this highly-anticipated local encounter after hostile derbies over recent years; including a mass brawl in the FA Trophy match during October 2021 that involved three red cards and bitter arguments between the players following Gosport’s five-nil win against Salisbury in early January 2022.

But supporters don’t have long to wait as both clubs have announced this fixture will be played at 7:45pm on January 31 (Tuesday). The reverse encounter at Privett Park was previously rearranged for March 11 (3pm); the original game being scheduled for September 10 but was cancelled following the passing of Her Majesty.

Both teams will however face league matches before this derby in ten days’ time; Salisbury hosting Hayes & Yeading at the Raymond Mcenhill Stadium and visiting Merthyr Town next weekend. Meanwhile Gosport will host the former at Privett Park on January 28 as Mark Moseley looks to seal a first victory this calendar year.

PICTURED BY TOM PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY: Borough celebrate goal at the Raymond Mcenhill Stadium in January 2022 during five-nil win; Salisbury’s immediate hopes of revenge put on hold after heavy showers.