Sub-zero temperatures have frozen football pitches across the UK, resulting in Burridge playing just three times so far in 2012.
The snow started to fall when Sam Schwodler arrived at training on Thursday evening. After running a couple of warm-up laps he joined the six of us on the Astroturf. Sam, like many of us, looks forward to the end of session game. That his arrival had only made up the numbers of one six-a-side team got his back up. “This it?” He asked. Paul Dyke explained that the majority of absentees were nursing injuries. Sam swore under his breath and moaned about having wasted his time rushing back from work. He didn’t say where from. Nobody asked him either.
We were playing a keep ball three-a-side game within the confines of the eighteen yard box. Sam replaced Chris Pye, who having not been able to kick a ball for two months because of a hernia, was spent.
Each player contributes £3 per training session, which goes towards the running costs of the pitch and the floodlights. Hamble College invoice us in arrears each month, with each session costing £40. Martyn Barnett arrived to make it eight, which meant we had raised £24, £16 short of breaking even.
The cold and wet weather disrupts the season – not just by preventing games from being played – but by eroding the routines that regular games provide. When the weather forecast is dominated by minus temperatures, or heavy rain, players suspect, almost expect, that the following Saturday’s game will not take place. The knock on effect is that football slips lower down the pecking order of priorities. On the other hand, it also gives players the chance to boost their fitness. Kev Willsher has had his application for the Great North run accepted, and Chris Pye has recovered from a hernia.
We were due to play Hedge-End Town at home on Saturday. This game was called off on Saturday morning. With a number of games within the Football League falling by the wayside it was almost inevitable that Paul Dyke would text the news that Burridge, and every other local pitch had been deemed unplayable. The forecast for the coming week is far more encouraging, with temperatures predicted to hit double figures by the end of the week.