February 7 2018: 3G or not 3G?


“When two Englishmen meet, their first talk is of the weather” – Samuel Johnson

Anyone spot the report in today’s papers about the effect of climate change on sport – by which they particularly meant golf and cricket?

The R&A, golf’s biggest governing body, talks of the weather now being “a huge factor”, playing time – and thus finances – increasingly denied and coastal courses losing holes to erosion.

The sport, they say, has been affected more than any other by climate change – except, of course, for skiing.

Unexpectedly heavy rainfall, it’s said, cost the ECB £1.6m in emergency grants to grass roots clubs last season, while £2.5m has been set aside annually for future rainy seasons.

But what about football? All scheduled Ebac Northern League matches are off tonight, only one played last night and a pretty gloomy medium term forecast. Despite the wholly laudable efforts of league secretary Kevin Hewitt to rearrange games as early as possible, the situation’s starting to look awfully familiar.

Marske United, as so often is the way with successful Vase teams, still have half their 42 league fixtures to play and with just 12 Saturday’s remaining. Newcastle Benfield have 19 to fit in, several others 17.

In the second division, Heaton Stannington, Crook and Bedlington 16 , three others 15 – plus cup games, of course. It’s likely to get worse before it gets better.

Traditionalists will shriek, but it seems to me that the answer -with all sorts of additional benefits – is to explore the possibility of more 3G pitches if funds can be made available.

Better yet, the FA and the Football Trust might explore the possibility of substantial grants to transform so many pitches at this level from converted cow pasture to surfaces truly fit for football.

Truth to tell, mind, I was quite glad that tonight’s games were off. The plan was to watch Shildon v Benfield — despite several attenpts, I’ve yet to see the new stand – but I still can’t shake off this blooming cold.

Like the poor  Northern League secretary, I’m a bit under the weather.