Marine boss Webb can see the benefit of artificial pitches
ANOTHER weekend of inaction for Swindon Supermarine has left Dave Webb wondering whether artificial turf is the way forward for clubs at Southern League level.
The Marine boss saw his side's visit to Shortwood postponed due to a waterlogged pitch on Saturday, which means that yet another fixture will have to be squeezed into the end-of-season pile-up.
No team in Division One South & West has played more fixtures than league leaders Merthyr, with the Welsh side’s recently-installed 4G pitch playing a significant role in that statistic.
And Webb revealed his thinking that there were positives and negatives in waving goodbye to grass.
“Merthyr will be the team that are looking at it and thinking that it's great for them because they have got the points on the board,” he said.
“They are able to play on their 4G pitch and the rest of us are all playing catch-up.
“That’s going to work in their favour and I just wonder whether that will be the norm one day for every team.
“They are a huge investment but you get the revenue of renting the pitch out and the maintenance costs are low.
“It just doesn’t seem right to me not playing on grass.”
Currently, Marine have seven games scheduled in both February and March, and five more in April, with Saturday’s fixture against Shortwood yet to be rescheduled.
Webb stopped short of calling for an extension to the campaign - due to finish on April 26, not including the play-offs - but admitted he was concerned that more bad weather was to come.
“At the moment I don’t think they (the Southern League) will extend the season,” he said.
“If you look at what’s remaining, we’ll probably get them all in if we play three times a week at some stage.
“But if we don't play this Wednesday or Saturday (against Guildford and Evesham respectively) then that's another two we’ve got to fit in and you’re then on the verge of, is there going to be an extra week added?
“I'm sure we’re going to get cold weather at some point as well which will affect us.
“I'm not saying it's going to snow, but if we get a cold snap then it's going to be a nightmare.”
Elsewhere in the division, Cirencester’s trip to Paulton was called off, while in the Premier Division, Chippenham’s visit to Arlesey suffered the same fate.