HELLENIC LEAGUE: Rain makes it a pain to train for local non-league managers

This Is Wiltshire: Highworth boss John Fisher Highworth boss John Fisher

HIGHWORTH might have suffered their fourth postponement inside a month on Saturday, but at least they returned to proper training this week.

The Worthians experienced disappointment just over a week ago when they turned up at Stratton Leisure Centre to use the new 3G artificial grass pitch, only to be told that electricity was yet to be installed.

John Fisher’s men used Swindon Academy on Tuesday where Swindon Supermarine’s players have recently been put through their paces.

“We turned up in Stratton last week having made the booking and they told us there was no electric, so we had to go home,” said Fisher.

“The weather been a bit of a problem for us because we can’t train on the pitch because it’s knackered at the moment, and we can’t train down the bottom end as there’s kids’ football down there.

“I don’t want the players banging up and down the roads as it does your knees in.

“It was becoming a little bit of a nightmare, but having said that we had a couple of games over Christmas so it’s not too bad.”

Fisher’s fellow Hellenic League Premier Division managers Dave Turner and Jeff Roberts have had less issues as a result of the recent wet weather.

Shrivenham manager Turner said: “We’ve been quite lucky in that we’ve only missed one or two games and our pitch drains quite well.

“We’ve had a couple of midweek ones off in the Floodlit Cup but that’s not the end of the world. We’re certainly no worse off than anyone else.

“I’m quite comfortable with it at the moment. We have things in place which allow us to keep ticking over and I’m not losing any sleep over something I can’t control.”

Wootton Bassett boss Roberts added: “We train on the astroturf at Royal Wootton Bassett Academy and we put them through it over Christmas.

“I think we’ve played 24 games anyway so we’re not really behind on fixtures.

“We played on Boxing Day and the following Saturday so we didn’t have a bad Christmas.”

For our Division One West teams, the rain has proved more of a problem.

New College manager Rob Hopkins said: “We were training on pitches behind the college and usually they are pretty good, but with the weather we’ve had, we’ve struggled.

“Before we have been alright but this year there has been so much rain that we’re struggling to train like everyone else.

Referring to last week, Hopkins continued: “A lot of the players were flying to go training after Christmas and we kind of trained on Monday but it wasn’t great.

“We struggled on Wednesday and we knocked Thursday’s training session on the head completely because of the weather.”

Malmesbury’s Flying Monk pitch was flooded over the festive period - far from the first time - and the club are now looking into the possibility of a new ground to prevent it happening again.

Vics boss Gareth Davies said: “We’ve trained at @Futsal (in Kembrey Park) just to keep the boys ticking over, because we can’t train at Malmesbury.

“It’s frustrating because the flood fences were up in the summer and here we are, literally knee-deep in water.”

Problems have not been restricted to Hellenic League football with Dave Webb’s Supermarine side also having recently had problems playing games and training.

“We did have time over the Christmas period without getting together for training,” said Webb.

“There’s no club at our level that can say they have been training twice a week, it’s very difficult to do that unless you have your own training facility.

“I think what’s going to get us through it is the work the players put in before this spell came along.”

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