Bad weather almost brings hockey to standstill

Freezing pitches and snow played havoc with the men’s regional West of England & South Wales Hockey League fixture list last weekend.

Heavy snow or frozen pitches prevented matches from going ahead, even on some ‘all-weather’ surfaces, and then there is the additional safety factor as some teams are unable to travel because of wintry and dangerous road conditions.

Common sense, as well as jokes about ice hockey, prevail when the temperature drops and hockey games are called off because of frozen or snowbound pitches.

The West of England & South Wales League top flight – the Premiership – was as badly affected as were the rest of the divisions in the league.

Only three games were able to go ahead, none involving the top five, so it was a case of as you were at the summit with Plymouth Marjon remaining in pole position.

Plymouth’s eagerly anticipated first versus third top-of-the-table game at Team Bath Buccaneers A was snowed off and will now be played on Sunday, January 14, meaning an important weekend double date for the leaders.

The Reds host Cardiff side Whitchurch on Saturday, January 13 at the Plymouth Marjon Hockey Centre, the day before they travel to Bath.

Second placed Bristol University’s Sunday game at Wotton-under-Edge also fell foul of wintry conditions and was postponed.
The University’s Saturday game at Whitchurch was also snowed off as the white stuff fell heavily across Wales with the Brecon Beacons hardest hit.

The wintry weather also caused the postponement of fourth placed Cardiff University’s trip to fifth placed Exeter University A.

Cardiff & Met A moved up to sixth as a result of their 3-1 win at Westbury & United Banks, while Wotton-under-Edge moved up to tenth, above Whitchurch, following a 2-1 win at basement side Taunton Vale.

In the only other top flight game to beat the temperature drop, eighth placed Truro drew 3-3 at home to seventh placed Firebrands meaning both stayed in the same places at the halfway stage of the season.

New dates for Exeter University A versus Cardiff University and both postponed Bristol University away days, at Wotton-under-Edge and Whitchurch, have yet to be set.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.