Liam Middleton 'flabbergasted' by late postponement of Bristol's game at Moseley
LIAM Middleton said he was "flabbergasted" that Bristol's Championship match at Moseley was postponed on the morning of the game. And the head coach is not keen to wait until the next free weekend – March 15-17 – to play the fixture.
Saturday's game at Billesley Common was called off by referee David Rose following an inspection at 9.45am on the day of the scheduled game, after heavy overnight rain in Birmingham.
Without a game – and with Cornish Pirates beating Doncaster – Bristol slipped from fifth to sixth in the table, and Middleton was left frustrated by the late postponement.
"It's massively frustrating, because we didn't have a game last weekend either, so we were chomping at the bit to have another crack at it," said Middleton. "It was an important game and we'd prepared so well, so we were desperate to get out there.
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"We're in the part of the season where we want to play and we want to prove ourselves each week, so when that opportunity goes for a weekend, it's frustrating. But it is what it is – it's out of our hands.
"We went into the club and did some training and we will resume things in the week ahead of the Rotherham game."
Middleton woke up on Saturday expecting the game at Billesley Common to be on without any problems at all – so the postponement came as a huge shock to him.
"I was flabbergasted, to be honest," he said. "I just did not expect it at all. When we played Plymouth recently, it had rained for pretty much a week before, so you had it in your mind that things would be pretty bad.
"But on our forecast, we didn't consider any issues with the pitch at Moseley. It's been a bit of a surprise and I think that's what makes it more disappointing. With the Cardiff game, which was called off because of the snow, we prepared ourselves in the week with the forecast – but this really came out of the blue."
No date has yet been arranged for the fixture, although Middleton does not want to wait until the next free weekend, so the match may go ahead in midweek.
And the fact Cardiff were unwilling to play Bristol in the British & Irish Cup last weekend – a free date for both clubs – has added to Middleton's frustration.
"We're just working with Moseley now to see when we can get the game played," he said. "We don't want to leave it later and later in the season, we want to get it played on the first available date and get it done.
"At the moment, we feel that March 16 is too late, so we are looking at some midweek options which we're not averse to, because at this point of the season it's about getting out and playing. We'd look at that as a potential option.
"I think we've been thrown off by the Cardiff game, where we were frustrated by our Welsh counterparts, because we felt there was a weekend (February 1-3) where that could have been played, but they wanted to move it to February 22. That has taken up a weekend where we could have played the Moseley game."
Bristol's Championship clash with Plymouth Albion on Sunday, March 31 will be televised live on Sky Sports. Originally scheduled for 3pm, the Memorial Stadium fixture will now kick off at 4.05pm.