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Archived News from March 2013

GAME OFF AT WREXHAM
22nd March 2013 18:47


GAME OFF AT WREXHAM
19 March 2013

Mansfield Town's eagerly anticipated top of the table clash at the Racecourse Ground was called off on Tuesday due to a waterlogged pitch.

I arrived in Wrexham around 2.30pm. It was raining very heavily. I had not seen much rain on my journey and it had not once occurred to me that the game would be in danger. I immediately picked up a text on my phone from Adam Murray asking if I was in Wrexham. Muzza had heard that that the pitch could be in trouble, and had passed a 1.00 inspection but it could not take further rain. I feared that the rain that was hammering down on my head would be problematic.

At 3.10, news broke via twitter that the game was off as the referee had looked at the pitch at 3.00 and deemed it unplayable. Conspiracy theories were quickly bandied around that it was convenient for Wrexham to have the game off ahead of their trip to Wembley at the weekend. I decided I had better go and have a look at the pitch myself, if Wrexham would let me in.

I arrived at the ground on foot at around 3.30. I walked in to the ground and met Geraint, the club secretary. I had been in touch with him the day before arranging to have an extra copy of the match DVD for video highlights. He welcomed me in and invited me to walk on to the pitch with him. He also walked me over to talk with the groundsman and assistant.

It was immediately obvious that the pitch was unplayable.



This was in the centre of the pitch:


The groundsman told me that having a rugby match on it on Sunday had not helped. The pitch was ok on Monday afternoon though. It had then unexpectedly snowed heavily overnight on Monday night and when that melted early on Tuesday morning the pitch became waterlogged. The groundsmen worked busily to get the water off the pitch on Tuesday morning, and at a 1pm pitch inspection it was agreed that with 7 hours to go until the game, it would be possible to get it playable if there was no more rain.

Unfortunately the heavens opened and there was very heavy rain, leaving the pitch completely unplayable by 3.00. The referee told the groundsman that it was an easy decision to call it off at 3pm. I was told that the problem with the pitch is that it is completely saturated so that as soon as there is any rain, there is simply nowhere for it to go and it just sits on the surface. The groundsman told me that more rain was forecast for Tuesday night and hence Wednesday was not looking like a possible new date as the pitch simply can't absorb any more rain.

Later I stumbled on the Wrexham FC Wembley shop in the town shopping centre


Martin

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Rain wrecks Wrexham trip as Mansfield Town's big game is called off
chad.co.uk Tuesday 19 March 2013 17:22

Heavy rain in North Wales forced a mid-afternoon postponement of tonight's eagerly-anticipated battle of the top two in the BSBP as table-topping Mansfield Town headed for second-placed Wrexham.

http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-fc/rain-wrecks-wrexham-trip-as-mansfield-town-s-big-game-is-called-off-1-5506242?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

The Stags coach was almost in Stoke-on-Trent en route for the Racecourse Ground when they heard the news and turned back.

Manager Paul Cox said: “It is a bit of an uncontrollable, but I just wish we'd been told a bit earlier.

“We understand a local referee looked at the pitch at 1pm and it was passed okay. We think the match referee then arrived for 3pm and called it off.

“But there is no use crying over spilt milk. We've just got to get on with it and build towards Saturday's game with Macclesfield.

“With us and Wrexham not having any more Tuesdays when we are both free. It means that at some stage we are going to have to play a Tuesday and Thursday. But we have nine games to go and it doesn't really bother me if we play them one after the other.”

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Mansfield OFF!
Tue 19 Mar 2013
Wrexham official website

http://www.wrexhamafc.co.uk/news/article/mansfield-off-13.03.19-724186.aspx

Heavy rain & snow put pay to chances...

Match referee Peter Bankes called at the ground early after breaking away from an FA course to take a look at the pitch.

Heavy rain on Saturday, along with a dump of snow last night only added to the usual rain we have endured in recent days.

"It was an easy decision," said Mr Bankes, shortly after his arrival.

"One end of the ground is particularly waterlogged, despite the best efforts of the groundstaff."

The pitch was recovering from the weekend, but the staff could only get a roller on the wings. A quiet night was suggested, but in the end Wrexham had about half an inch of snow and while that melted, it only set the pitch back.

The staff removed the surface water again this morning, but one half while not having standing water, was still saturated - making it even difficult to walk across it.

A local referee had a look at the ground at lunchtime and with seven hours still to work on it - was hopeful that we could play.

Unfortunately, another cloud burst coincided with the match referee's arrival and all the hard work of earlier in the day was quickly undo.

With more rain forecast, the match official was in no doubt that play would not be possible and took the decision to postpone the game.

A reporter from BBC Nottingham arrived shortly afterwards and while he said his journey across had been mainly in the dry, he took one look at the playing surface and understand the decision.

Obviously, this leaves both clubs with a major fixture problem as we don't have a mutually available free midweek

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Mansfield Town frustrated at called off match
Nottingham Post Mar 20th, 2013

A FEW frank views from Mansfield Town's players on Twitter showed the frustration met by the late cancellation of last night's top-of-the-table clash at Wrexham.

http://m.thisisnottingham.co.uk/story.html?aid=18470410&category=sport

The journey from north Nottinghamshire took place after a dry day and sun locally, but over in north Wales overnight snow and rain had taken its toll.

A local referee had passed the pitch fit at 1pm so the decision to cancel the game because of a waterlogged surface at the Racecourse Ground came totally out of the blue for manager Paul Cox and his men, when made shortly after 3pm with the players travelling along the A50 near Stoke.

Victory over second-placed Wrexham – who contest the FA Trophy final against Grimsby at Wembley on Sunday – could have moved the Stags five points clear at the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier with a game in hand.

The fact both clubs have no spare Tuesdays before the season ends on April 20 means they will have to clash on a Thursday, but boss Cox is undeterred by that prospect, in the chase for top spot and automatic promotion.

He said: "There is no use crying over spilt milk. We've just got to get on with it and build towards Macclesfield (on Saturday).

"With us and Wrexham not having any more Tuesdays when we are both free, it means at some stage we are going to have to play a Tuesday and Thursday.

"But we have nine games to go and it doesn't really bother me if we play them one after the other.

"I just wish we'd been told a bit earlier (about the postponement)."

Match referee Peter Bankes called at the ground after breaking away from an FA course to take a look at the pitch.

"One end of the ground is particularly waterlogged, despite the best efforts of the ground staff," he said. "It was an easy decision."

The pitch was recovering from the weekend, but the staff could only get a roller on the wings. A quiet night was suggested, but in the end Wrexham had about half an inch of snow and while that melted, it only set the pitch back.

The staff removed the surface water again yesterday morning. But one half, while not having standing water, was still saturated – making it even difficult to walk across it

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twitter
James Jennings ?@JamesJennings03 Protected account
Fuckin Fuming the game has been called off! Wrexham have shit themselves. & called it off coz of their game Sunday! #shitbags ????

lee stevenson ?@lee8stevo
Game off, wow! #jokes #cheers #errghhhh

Jamie Tolley ?@Jtolls20
The fucking games off?!! Wtf? How?! Coincidental that wembley is on Sunday?!! ?? #poor

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Wrexham FC could face Mansfield Town twice in 48 hours
by Mark Currie, DPW West Mar 20 2013

http://www.dailypost.co.uk/sport-news/wrexham-fc/2013/03/20/55578-33023849/

WREXHAM could face promotion rivals Mansfield Town twice in the space of 48 hours in the final two matches of the season with the one automatic promotion place as the prize.

It's certainly one of several potential scenarios after last night's scheduled Racecourse meeting between the first and second-placed sides in the table was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

With eight games still to be played before the season's finale on April 20, Wrexham's only one free midweek date comes in the wake of Sunday's FA trophy final game with Grimsby Town at Wembley, but Mansfield, who have nine to play, have already arranged a home game against Nuneaton Town next Tuesday.

Assistant boss Billy Barr said: “The game being off is definitely going to cause problems down the line and, strange as it sounds, we might be playing Mansfield on Thursday and Saturday in the two last games of the season and maybe for one of us to win the league – you never know.

“I think Mansfield have a game next week because they have played one less than us, which means they are playing midweek all the way through.

“Next week was our only free Tuesday, so at some stage I would have thought it's going to be Tuesday-Thursday or maybe it will be the Thursday after Easter Monday.

“We'll have to leave it to the clubs to sort out because we don't know Mansfield's fixtures and we'll leave it in the officials' hands.”

Barr admitted the postponement had not come as a complete surprise after he and player-manager Andy Morrell were alerted to the possibility on Monday.

“It wasn't a surprise because we were aware of it yesterday,” he added. “Obviously the bad weather started during the game on Saturday and continued. Then the rugby league team played on the pitch on Sunday and we were told yesterday morning that there might be a doubt.

“It's disappointing, nevertheless, because we just wanted to get straight into another game, but the rain has obviously curtailed that.”

Looking for a silver lining, Barr is hoping Wrexham will be closer to full strength at Wembley on Sunday, with Dean Keates having completed a two-match ban and no other suspensions possible between now and the weekend.

“It would have been nice to have Dean around it tonight, and he's probably happy that this game was not his last of his suspension because that would have been a real nightmare for him,” he said.

“But it gives us the chance to have the injured lads like David Artell and Neil Ashton back and ready to play, so disappointed as we are, it probably strengthens the FA Trophy squad on the back of the postponement.”

Wrexham club secretary Geraint Parry said match referee Peter Bankes had no hesitation in ruling the pitch unfit after travelling to the Racecourse straight from a course he was attending at the FA's new centre of excellence at Burton-on-Trent.

He said: “Peter Bankes was at St George's Park but was able to be away at lunchtime to get here for 3pm and after a look at the pitch he said the postponement was the easiest decision he has had to make in ages.

“One end of the pitch was waterlogged because we had snow last night, although the staff worked on the pitch this morning after it melted. They got all the standing water off the surface but with all the later rain there was more standing water through the centre of the pitch and it had nowhere to go.

“The Mansfield coach left their place at 1pm and because they have to travel back we will be talking with them tomorrow about a suitable and mutually convenient date for the re-arranged game. “

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