Nightmare summer continues as teams really begin to suffer
CRICKET in the Bristol area was totally wiped out by the rain, further increasing pressure on clubs struggling to cope with the wettest summer in living memory.
St George, one of the city's oldest and most famous sides, should by now have played ten games in Division Two of the Globe Sports Bristol & District League.
But the relentlessly poor weather has allowed only three fixtures to be completed, with one game abandoned and six cancelled, including the weekend's scheduled home clash with Woodpeckers.
John Britton, St George's secretary, fixture secretary and groundsman, pictured, said: "To be honest, it's been a nightmare.
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"We're not taking anything behind the bar and we're not collecting any subs, so we don't have an income at the moment.
"Seven of our first ten games have been at home . . . the only consolation we have is that we hire out the ground when we're playing away, and there are now a run of matches which might give us an income – it's our only salvation.
"The weather has been so damp, it's just miserable.
"I feel sympathy for all the clubs in the area.
"The outfield at our place is so wet that you can't get out there to cut it – the tractor would just get stuck. And in the meanwhile the grass is growing and getting even longer.
"The only positive is that there's no wear and tear on the wicket – because we're not playing!"
Britton, consistently one of the highest run scorers in the league for many seasons, said the weather was starting to affect his enthusiasm.
He added: "You get to Saturday after a hard week's work and should be thinking 'good, it's cricket today', but so much rain has been falling that you know the game is going to be off.
"People are also starting to look at the forecast and are saying 'I don't think I'll bother'. I've had 25 years of first-team cricket and I've never known it this bad.
"I've even got a new nickname ... I used to be called 'Dangerous' but so far this season I've only scored 11 runs, so now the lads call me 'Not very dangerous'!"
In between the showers, St George, who were promoted last summer, have won one game and are third from bottom with two teams due to drop down.
Britton added: "There are only eight more matches to go and we know we need to win a couple to make ourselves safe. We're all praying for some sun."
Officials are hoping the weather will ease sufficiently this week to allow clubs to rearrange outstanding knock out fixtures.
The long-running Bristol and District Cup and Bateman Trophy have, to date, largely escaped the rain which has so badly affected local league competitions.
But Shirehampton and Bristol Asians will tomorrow try for a sixth time to complete their third-round cup clash at Pen Pole Lane, with the winners due to meet Keynsham or Brislington who have also made several abortive attempts to stage this attractive derby.
Three quarter-finals are scheduled for Wednesday. Holders Bristol are due to visit Frenchay, while Winterbourne will play host to Bishopston and YMCA, from the Senior Division of the Bristol & District League, will entertain Thornbury, from Premier Two of the West of England Premier League.
In the Bateman Trophy, meanwhile, Bradley Stoke hope to welcome Churchways tonight, while seven first-round ties are set to take place on Wednesday, including Old Down taking on Cleeve, Lodway entertaining Phoenix West Indians and United Banks welcoming Bitton.