Fixture farce leaves Sports facing a pile-up in new year

Whatever 2020 brings, Easington Sports manager Matt Giles knows his side will face a fixture pile-up.
Easington Sports manager Matt Giles is frustrated his side face another blank weekendEasington Sports manager Matt Giles is frustrated his side face another blank weekend
Easington Sports manager Matt Giles is frustrated his side face another blank weekend

Sports face another blank weekend – their sixth Saturday without a planned uhlsport Hellenic League fixture – on the back of another postponed game.

Last weekend’s Bluefin Sports Supplementary Cup tie at Heyford Athletic fell victim to the weather so that’s another fixture which will have to be played in 2020 on top of all the premier division games Sports have to fit in.

Sports have played just 12 premier division games so far, the joint lowest and are up to seven games behind other teams, including Brackley Town Saints who, by the time they meet each other in the Boxing Day derby, will have played eight more than their neighbours.

Back in September and early October, Sports had four blank Saturdays out of six and that is a time of the season when teams need to be playing every week where possible. Being knocked out of both the Emirates FA Cup and Buildbase FA Vase at the first hurdle didn’t help and meant Sports were without games on the subsequent weekend of those competitions.

But league games, or league cup competitions, should have been scheduled in while the weather was good and fixtures were in no danger of being postponed.

Following a tough start to life in the top division, Sports have picked up and went on a run of seven straight wins which came to and end earlier this month against Fairford Town.

When the Banbury Guardian contacted the uhlsport Hellenic League for a response, chief executive Brian King replied: “I am not a involved in fixture matters, I have a fixture co-ordinator who is responsible for such matters.”

Fixtures co-ordinator Karl Markham was also contacted but no response was received.

A frustrated Giles said: “We contacted the league three weeks ago and requested a fixture for this Saturday but didn’t get a response. That means we will be going into two games in three days after being without a game for 19 days.

“We’ve not been able to train either because of the weather so it will be a real test for our players, having to play at least two games a week next year. We’re not in a position to bring in experienced players so it will be a chance to see what our young players can do.”