Sussex County League clubs to play on until May after the rain strikes again

Waterlogged pitch

Waterlogged pitch

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The Sussex County League season has been extended to the beginning of May to help clubs cope with the unprecedented backlog of fixtures.

League officials took the move after yet another weekend was heavily disrupted by snow and then heavy rain.

The County League season was due to end on April 27, but the Football Association has granted leagues permission to play on for another week.

Steve Nealgrove, acting SCFL chairman said: “The FA have allowed Step 5 leagues one week’s grace and because of the fixtures we lost earlier in the season, and to the rain this weekend we’ve decided to take advantage of that. So the final of the John O’Hara Cup will be the Bank Holiday of May 6, with the league games finishing on Saturday May 4.”

Acting fixtures secretary Tim Dawes spent most of the weekend rejigging the fixtures which will be sent out to clubs shortly.

Only 11 games across the six leagues took place on Saturday as yet another weekend suffered at the hands of the weather in what has been one of the most disrupted seasons in some years.

The extension leaves seven weekends remaining, although teams like East Preston - who have 17 league games to play and are still in a cup - will have to play up to three games a week.

If further games are lost the league will seek a further extension from the FA and Nealgrove added: “We had over 1,500 games off one season in the past and I’d think we’re getting close to that figure now.”

The County League’s decision to extend their season a week is in line with other nearby leagues at the same level.

Both the Combined Counties League and the Kent Counties League had already made the call to stretch games to Saturday May 4 after experiencing similar problems.

Those County League clubs frustrated by the backlog should spare a thought for Combined Counties side Guernsey, who are set to play 17 games in April alone, including games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the same weekend!