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Chairman's Column 07.02.2023

Chairman's Column 07.02.2023

A waterlogged pitch prevented the game taking place on January 14 and when the water turned to ice it was a frozen surface that caused the game’s postponement one week later.

No consolation for me of course as I found found myself racking up the air miles between Spain and England so I could be sure to be at the Keech Hospice Care Stadium to watch our side compete in the last 32 of this prestigious FA competition for the first time in our history.

Hugely frustrating and yet another reminder of just how desperately we need to build all weather pitches for all sports clubs in our community.

But as annoying - and costly - as it was for me, my pain was nothing compared to that of all those volunteers who, on both previous occasions, spent days trying to do everything they could to ensure that the match could take place, ultimately to no avail.

In the best possible scenario it takes at least four or five dedicated volunteers to ensure that matches can take place. It is never a case, as some apparently believe, of just turning up 2.30 ready to enjoy a game.

Food has to be bought and prepared for the teams on match day; if there has been a game midweek then kit has to washed; the changing rooms and the clubhouse have to be pristine, the bar has to be re-stocked and that’s before we even begin to look at the state of the playing surface and the rolling and then marking of the pitch.

Add to this the vagaries of the English weather as happened over the past two weeks then the issues facing our volunteers as they battle against time and the elements are multiplied.
At least two days were spent trying to beg and borrow covering from wherever we could to keep the frost at bay and ensure that the match could be played last weekend. Ultimately we failed although it wasn’t for the lack of trying nor for the lack of support we received from the ground staff at Cranfield United who loaned us covering for our pitch.

And when a decision has to be made about whether or not a game will be played people should understand that if a match has to be postponed it is never, ever, for the want of doing everything humanly possible to try to ensure that it can take place.

And as we sit back and enjoy the match, we should all remember that it is solely due to the sterling efforts of our volunteers without whose contributions we simply could not function. I salute you all!

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