Winter break appeal from Colne chairman

Michael Cruz fights for the ball.
Michael Cruz fights for the ball.

Colne chairman Dave Blacklock believes that league officials need to seriously consider introducing a winter break.

This comes after last weekend’s game against St Helens Town fell victim to the weather and joined a long list of sporting fixtures to be cancelled due to the country-wide freeze.

Having played just two games since the turn of the year, Colne’s march up the table has been brought to an abrupt halt.

This misfortune has left Blacklock bemused at the lack of a seasonal interval and passionate to avoid such a fiasco in future campaigns: “I don’t know why the league doesn’t have a proper winter break instead of an unofficial one.

“For six weeks over the winter there should be a break. It would save clubs having to prepare every week.”

Blacklock also highlighted how postponing numerous games can affect finances at the club: “When it’s a home game programmes have to be printed and catering has to be organised. If the game’s called off it all goes to waste.”

“An official break in January and early February would help all the clubs in this league.”

The Reds chairman was also keen to point out another negative aspect of the league’s fixture layout: “Night matches stop far too soon.

“We play night matches through September and October, but they suddenly stop come November.

“If we were to play more night games in November and December then it wouldn’t be such an issue to call a match off later in the winter.”

Having been at the mercy of the freezing temperatures last year, Colne boss Nigel Coates was keen not to lose valuable training time this season and took action by organising weekly indoor sessions. Blacklock commended the manager for this decision: “Last year we were training outdoors on an all weather pitch, but it couldn’t be used when it was frozen, so Nigel booked time for training indoors.”

With a number of fixtures being postponed, the Reds will need to be at full strength to cope with all the games, as they come thick and fast in the spring.

Blacklock was pleased to confirm that Joe Garvin had returned to training, but the club are still awaiting the return of Michael Cruz (pictured) and Ted Cockett: “We’ve not had a chance to test their match fitness yet because of the lack of games.”

This weekend sees the Reds take on AFC Blackpool, a team who are enjoying a suburb debut season at this level following promotion last summer.

However, with the cold climate seemingly determined to remain put, Blacklock is predicting yet another postponement: “We’ll be kicking our heels until the weekend,” he said.

“We need to get the snow and ice out of the way; until then there’s no chance of getting the game played.

“Without a good solid day or two of sun, the pitch is just unplayable.”

Should the game be played and results go their way, Colne could find themselves in the top 10 come tomorrow evening.

MATT MAKOWSKI