Baffins Milton Rovers and United Services Portsmouth have both slammed the decision not to allow a midday kick-off for today’s Wessex League division one derby clash.
The league is insisting the game at the Kendalls Stadium kicks off at 3pm, despite appeals from both clubs.
United Services’ director of football Bob Brady admits he finds the situation difficult to understand.
‘I just can’t fathom it,’ he said.
‘The league are saying that they were not informed in time.
‘What difference does it make to them?
‘We are not professional clubs and we weren’t sure until now what our player commitments were going to be over the holiday period.
‘A few players and our manager, who could have made an earlier kick-off, now can’t be involved because they are either working or going away later in the afternoon.
‘As it is, we might struggle to put a team out but we will be there.
‘I am still unhappy that Hamble Club were allowed to call off their game at Burnaby Road last weekend.
‘They claimed they had a sickness bug but this is a club with a budget and a reserve team.
‘United Services would never fail to fulfil a fixture, claiming a lack of players.
‘Two years ago we went to Newport IOW and I played centre forward aged 58 because we were short!’
Baffins and United Services were hoping a midday kick-off would attract a larger-than-normal crowd.
Home boss Bell was equally scathing about the league’s decision.
He said: ‘I find the decision baffling.
‘It is very disappointing and not helpful when we are starting to get more people through the gate.
‘The chances are that our gate would have been swelled by a number of people, including groundhoppers, trying to get a few games in on the day.
‘We just have to do as we are told, however, and try to make the best of it.
‘Earlier in the season we beat Services 4-1 at their place but they were always in the game.’
Elsewhere, Moneyfields and Horndean’s hotly-anticipated Wessex League premier division derby, scheduled for this afternoon, was called off yesterday.
Injury and sickness prevented the Deans from raising a side – and following consultation with the league, the game was postponed.
– KEVIN RICKETTS