Yeovil Town are due to travel to play Leyton Orient on Tuesday night, still not certain as to whether they will play their first match of 2010. Whilst the Glovers had their match against Tranmere Rovers called off on Friday morning, Orient's match against Bristol Rovers went right to the wire, having initially passed at 10.00a.m. pitch inspection.
Orient had managed to get the pitch ready for the game, but such is the fragile nature of pitches at present following the recent wintry weather, just one heavy downpour was enough to flood the pitch. Referee Kevin Wright who had been due to take charge of the game, told both clubs' official sites that it was only when he inspected the pitch for a fifth time at around 1.45p.m. that he knew the pitch was going to be unplayable. Speaking on Saturday, he explained:
"I've been here since 9.00am and the pitch was playable at 10.00am, 11.00am and at midday. However within the last hour the heavens have opened and we now have puddles on the playing surface and water is running down the tunnel. I have serious doubts that we would ever get the game finished."
Rovers manager Paul Trollope made clear that he didn't blame the Orient groundstaff, saying that no-one could have guessed the effect that the hour's rain would have:
"All through the morning the pitch was fine. It had taken a lot of water, but the staff at Orient had worked hard to get the game on. They had cleared all the snow off earlier in the week and they were sponging and forking it today. However a deluge between 12.30pm and 1.30pm has meant that it is totally unfit. Both goalmouths, and the whole of one side of the pitch, are bad and would mean that the game would be an absolute farce so as far as we are concerned the right decision has been made."
The problem that many pitches face - and on the Football League Show, Colchester United and Brentford's grounds appeared to be only marginally playable - is that with the winter's freeze having been so prolonged, the soil beneath the surface will almost certainly still be partially frozen. Thus any rainfall will struggle to drain quickly, particularly after the snow-clearing on most pitches has just taken place.
The current weather forecast for this week suggests another band of rain will be hitting the South-West on Tuesday and working its way south-eastwards. At present this is scheduled to hit London overnight on Tuesday. If that remains the case, then Orient should be able to get the game on, but if that weather front arrives earlier, then expect some rapid and possibly late changes in the prognosis for the game. Either way, if we get the slightest sniff of a problem on Tuesday, we'll put an update on this site. If you're travelling to the game, keep an eye on the weather, and these pages.
Link: Ciderspace Guide To Leyton Orient.
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