Hawks count cost of another postponement

13139_COVERS_17/1/13''Ground staff at Havant & Waterlooville football club cover the pitch at West Leigh Park. Snow and freezing temperatures are forecast for Hamspshire and most of the south on Friday 18th Jan, a head of Havant & Waterloovile's match on Saturday 19th 2013 against Billericay Town. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (13139-031)
13139_COVERS_17/1/13''Ground staff at Havant & Waterlooville football club cover the pitch at West Leigh Park. Snow and freezing temperatures are forecast for Hamspshire and most of the south on Friday 18th Jan, a head of Havant & Waterloovile's match on Saturday 19th 2013 against Billericay Town. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (13139-031)
Sam Pearce. Picture: Neil Marshall

Moneys must settle for replay after Cray draw

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TIMES are tough at Westleigh Park and the cold snap is doing little to warm spirits.

It was another weekend without any football – piling on the misery as finances are being hit by the lack of match action.

Despite taking measures to ensure the Billericay match could go ahead on Saturday, it fell victim to the snow and ice just like all the other non-league matches across the region.

Club secretary Trevor Brock was left frustrated after the club did everything possible to get the latest game on.

Pitch covers were laid down in midweek and a good number of volunteers turned up on Saturday morning to clear the snow but it all proved in vain.

It took less than a minute for inspecting referee Andy Lavers to call the game off after deeming the surroundings to the ground were unsafe.

‘The game wasn’t called off because of the pitch, because the areas we uncovered looked to be fine,’ said Brock.

‘We paid a lot of money out for the covers and we genuinely thought we had a chance of getting the game on.

‘The referee was good enough to come out and do the inspection but health and safety is becoming a big issue for them.

‘It seems the days when volunteers can turn up and work hard to get a game on are gone.

‘In the modern world you cannot just get out an orange ball and play in the snow.’

The Hawks’ last home game was against AFC Hornchurch at the beginning of the month and they are not due to host another match in the league until the beginning of February, when Basingstoke Town visit the south coast.

That makes it almost a month without any finances coming into the club.

In addition, Hawks have been playing catch-up all season after the postponement of the summer friendly with Pompey.

Brock admits that with finances tight at the club, the bad weather is causing a headache they could do without.

‘It is not just the people paying to come through the gate but also the loss of all the earnings from the club-house, hospitality and catering,’ said Brock.

‘Players and staff still have to be paid and that is difficult when your cash flow is badly reduced.

‘The past six months have been as difficult as I have known financially.

‘Losing the Portsmouth friendly in the summer was a massive blow to us.

‘Traditionally it brings thousands of pounds into our coffers and it is something we budget for.

‘We are just getting back onto an even keel but the postponed games are the latest kick in the teeth.

The Hawks are due to meet Southern League Sholing in the quarter-finals of the Hampshire Senior Cup at Westleigh Park tomorrow night (7.45pm).

With fixtures piling up, the two clubs have already agreed that if the game cannot go ahead on Tuesday they will try again on Wednesday evening.