No game in three months

Battle Baptists Football Club's second team at a local cup final last season
Battle Baptists Football Club's second team at a local cup final last season

A local football team has gone more than three months without playing a game.

Battle Baptists seconds, who play in Macron East Sussex Football League Division Five, last kicked a ball in anger way back on November 1.

Since then Baptists have had one walkover because the opposition was unable to raise a side and a succession of weather-related postponements.

Baptists manager Gary Wenham said: “It’s really quite frustrating and if we lose much more, it will be worse than last year. It’s a bit like starting the season all over again.

“Battle Rec doesn’t drain very well - that’s our home pitch - and we won’t play on it if it’s going to turn it into a mudbath.

“We’re looking at options in terms of improvements to the pitch and various other things, but there’s nothing that can be done quickly and it all costs money.

“We still train once a week and when we’ve not got football on a Saturday, we invariably hire the 3G (artificial surface) at Claverham. That keeps the fitness ticking over, but there’s no substitute for actually playing a competitive game.”

The league does allow matches to be played on 3G surfaces - and some have gone ahead on one such pitch at Eastbourne Sports Park - but the one at Claverham falls short of the minimum length.

Baptists have 14 league games remaining and are still involved in two cup competitions. With only 12 Saturdays between now and the end of April, Baptists seem certain to have midweek games in the latter part of the season and possibly ‘double headers’.

“There will almost certainly be midweek fixtures,” added Wenham. “They have in the past organised double headers which I hate with a passion because sod’s law says you turn up with a weakened side and you’ve got to play two games.”

Wenham is hopeful that the long run without playing will finally come to an end tomorrow (Saturday) when Baptists are due to visit Hooe Sports in the Robertsbridge Charity Junior Cup.

Battle’s first team, meanwhile, will hope to play its first Premier Division game of 2015 tomorrow against Sedlescombe Rangers at Battle Rec.

The thirds are scheduled to visit Icklesham Casuals II in Division Six tomorrow.