Saints halt training after league suspends action until early April

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Southam United boss Richard Kay.

FOOTBALL

ALONG with all other clubs in the Hellenic League, Southam United were without a match last weekend as their Chairmans Challenge Cup tie against Woodstock Town was called off on Friday, writes David Hucker.

Hellenic chief executive Brian King had issued a statement in the wake of the Premier League and EFL deciding earlier in the day to call off all matches until 4th April which said: “Following consultation with the Football Association and discussion within the Hellenic League Executive, it is has been decided with immediate effect to suspend all matches up to and including scheduled matches on the 31st March 2020.

“The situation will then be reviewed when the impact of the Coronavirus Virus is better understood. The league will update clubs as and when further information is made available by the FA and other authorities.”

The Saints still have seven Division Two North matches to play, currently scheduled up to Saturday, 2nd May.

The suspension of all matches for the rest of the month means that their next action will be at home to Headington Amateurs on 4th April although, with the number of coronavirus cases still increasing, this might be wishful thinking.

In addition, they are due to play the twice-postponed Coventry Charity Cup quarter-final against Coventry Copsewood on Saturday, 28th March.

The league programme has already been affected by the withdrawal of Milton United Development and the wet weather has contributed to a backlog of fixtures with Moreton Rangers Reserves having 14 matches still to play, Easington Sports Development – the only side to beat Saints this season – with 13 and another four clubs with 12, meaning a congested fixture list for April and May.

“I understand the Hellenic League’s decision, but there’s no consistency across the competitions,” said Saints boss Richard Kay.

“The Midland Football League ran an almost full programme of matches on Saturday meaning that, if the Coventry Charity Cup tie goes ahead, Coventry Copsewood will have been playing whilst we will lack match practice through the enforced break.”

It is easy to see Kay’s point, as matches at their level are usually watched by the proverbial man and his dog and Chinnor recorded an official attendance of just one (no mention of the dog) when they played Saints in January.

In line with the Hellenic League’s decision, Saints have suspended training for all teams for two weeks.

“It might be seen as an abundance of caution, but the committee felt it was the right thing to do,” said chairman Charles Hill.

“I am sure it’s only a matter of time before the MFL joins nearly everyone else in postponing games, but we might need to review the situation as far as men’s team is concerned if the Coventry Charity Cup tie goes ahead.”