Saturday, 9 February 2013

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Ceding home advantage in our protracted CML cup tie has not met with universal approval but needs must I'm afraid...

As I was getting ready for work the other morning, Mrs Slush decided to regale me with tales of her dream the previous night.  This involved her being part of Tyrone Dobbs' ongoing abduction of his own baby on Corrie.  I chuckled at yet another night in which my good lady's sleep has taken her off into TV celeb land.
Previous dreams have included cameo appearances by Ant & Dec, Will Young and Corrie corner shop owner Dev.  I know, I know, it's a good job one of us remains wedded to the real world.
"Anyway", she said, "You needn't laugh.  What about that dream you had that Kym Marsh (Corrie's Michelle Conner) was your new boss at work?"  Ah! 
So why, exactly, am I sharing these intricate details of the Slush Family master bedroom with you the dear reader?  Well, because at the moment they bear about as much relation to the real world as do our hopes of ever staging another game at Low Farm. 
Last weekend was the third in a row that I'd found myself standing on the once hallowed turf, looking with resignation at another unplayable pitch and wondering just when our protracted second round CML Cup tie against Belper United would finally get played.
As it happens, the game is actually underway as I type this very post.  Only it's occurring over a hundred miles away in deepest Derbyshire, after our Committee reluctantly agreed to cede home advantage.
Perhaps unsurprisingly it's a decision that has met with a little criticism.  Given our respective league positions - us in the lower reaches of the North Division and opponents Belper United currently sitting atop the South - many people have pointed out that we've given up our best chance of causing an upset.  Possibly so. 
By switching venues, we have also denied all but the hardiest of our supporters the chance to see the game.  True. 
And by embarking on our longest trip of the season while still being officially the "home" club in the tie, we have also burdened ourselves with ridiculous costs.  I can't deny that possibility.
So why have we done it?
Well, the overriding factor is time.  Already, we do not have enough Saturdays left in the season to complete our full quota of outstanding league fixtures let alone extra games in the cup.  Without lights and being so far removed geographically from the rest of the league, this presents massive problems.
The League Cup is already at the 4th round stage, following a full quota of scheduled 3rd round ties being played last Saturday.  Given our probable inability to stage another game at Low Farm until late February / early March, this presents the competition with a big hurdle to overcome - the date and venue for the final are already set in stone.
In addition, despite extensive enquiries, we simply could not find another pitch locally on which to get the game played.
And finally, we were also quite confident that had we offered the players the only alternative today (i.e. another postponement) they would rather be making their longest trip of the season in order to kick a ball about for only the second time since 1st December.  And I say this despite just learning the lads are three down at half-time.  Ouch!
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a pitch to inspect... 

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