Rain curtails Wessex midweek action

By Connor Steel

WESSEX LEAGUE fixture organisers were dealt another blow and a potential congestion headache on Tuesday night as most of the midweek calendar fell victim to heavy rain across the Hampshire region, which included scheduled ties for both Portchester and Fareham as the 2021-22 season reaches its climax.

It comes after a dry start to Tuesday and a sunny weekend before weather worsened, with persistent downpours leading to pitch inspections being called by match officials at 4pm at Burnaby Road and Cams Alders Stadium as club groundsmen continued to struggle against non-stop rainy conditions.

Shortly afterwards it was confirmed via social media platforms that Portchester’s away clash versus US Portsmouth (7:45pm) and Fareham’s home tie with Cowes Sports (7:30pm) had been postponed due to waterlogged pitches to much disappointment of supporters.

Other matches were cancelled at Moneyfields, Christchurch, and Alresford as only one league game went ahead as scheduled; Shaftesbury sealing a two-one home win against Brockenhurst. There were also games at Stoneham and Hamworthy, although both were cup encounters and played on artificial surfaces.

And this latest round of postponements just ten days after Storm Eunice means that league organisers will have to find space for more fixtures despite a hectic calendar; most teams playing midweek encounters throughout March with just six weeks to go until the final day of the league season concludes on April 16.

In previous campaigns games have been played on Thursday nights in addition to Tuesdays, whilst the option to extend the season is available to league organisers if more games are affected by the weather. Each side has between eight and eleven Wessex Premier games to play over the coming weeks, which doesn’t include cup fixtures for a minority of teams.

At the time of writing dates are not known at the time of writing on when these Fareham and Portchester games will be rescheduled for; the next free midweek coming in late April as attentions must turn to weekend action with the Creekside rivals hoping to boost their chances of a top half finish.

Eighth placed Portchester will host Southampton-based Blackfield & Langley at the On-Site Group Stadium if the weather improves, whilst Fareham will travel to Wiltshire for their game against high flying Shaftesbury on their artificial Cockrams pitch. Both league games will start at 3pm this Saturday (March 5).

PICTURED BY ALARMY: Waterlogged pitch affects non-league football action as rain continues to fall.