Another week and another round of fixtures postponed, the Beast from the East may have brought the South West to a stand-still, but football in Cornwall has been suffering for a while now.
With the league supposed to be in its later stages, some teams competing in the South West Peninsula Premier Division have only played half of their fixtures, with Bodmin Town the worst hit after only playing 16 games so far due to weather conditions leading to a mass of postponements.
Despite the lack of fixtures Bodmin currently sit in 8th with 34 points and after last weekend’s cancellation of games they will still have nine games in hand over the team top and 11 in hand over Stoke Gabriel, the team above them in 7th.
In fact, Bodmin had tried and failed seven times to play their League cup tie against Tavistock before finally being successful on the 8th attempt; just losing out 1-0 after an early goal from Josh Grant.
This kind of deficit of fixtures is unheard of at the top level, however in non-league where facilities and funds are not of the same standard it is something that has to be accepted at times
Phil Hiscox, the Company Secretary for the South West Peninsula Football League and is in charge of the scheduling of fixtures expressed his worries about this season and the effect that the amount of postponements will have on the final standings.
He said: “There is no such things as an average winter and if there was any pattern it seems to be that if you had a mild winter one year you paid for it the next.
“I had teams last year playing their last games over Easter and if anything, one or two finished a bit early than they should have, whereas this year no one is going to be finished early are they?”
“In fact, the more important question is ‘is any one going to finish at all?’”
Now there is the possibility to extend the league for a further week into May, however this has to be passed by the FA.
But one week will not make up for the sheer amount of games missed by most clubs and Hiscox expressed more doubt by saying that even if he did get the FA’s approval, it wouldn’t help that much.
This lack of flexibility in time frame in the league means that it is inevitable that more mid-week games and Sunday games will need to be played.
But even this is problematic for a lot of teams, especially in the Premier Division where teams travelling away could be faced with long journeys and with a lot of the players from the league having full time jobs it is just not a realistic prospect.
Falmouth Town Manager, Andrew Westgarth said: “I have spoken to a few of the lads and there is a few concerns about it as we have a few school teachers in our team and obviously they can’t just say ‘can we leave an hour early?”
Falmouth Town FC, like Bodmin, are another Cornish side that have suffered as a result of postponements after they went almost two months without playing a game since their 2-1 home victory over Godolphin Atlantic on the 23rd of December.
And since last week’s storm, things have got a whole lot worse for the club after they sustained multiple damages to their home ground.
The stand behind the goal had to be reduced because the roof had blown off as a result of the storm; so had the shed roof in the corner of the ground.
In some ways the state of Bickland Park sums up this year’s South West Peninsula League, damaged, but unlike the roof at Falmouth AFC, this season seems beyond repair.