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WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG?

30-Jan 05:31, by Ketts

Should the game at Blackpool have been called off sooner?

Wigan's game at Rochdale tonight was called off on Monday afternoon due to a waterlogged pitch.‎

As well as staging Dale's games, Spotland is the home of rugby league outfit, Rochdale Hornets, †so the pitch is used twelve months a year.

The heavy useage and lack of any recovery time takes its toll. Winter postponements are a regular occurence.

Sky footage of Bloomfield Road on Saturday confirms that the pitch was unplayable. The only question is why it took so long to call the game off.

There were concerns at The Valley as early as midweek that the game was at risk. Blackpool's pitch is in poor condition, and with heavy rain forecast for Saturday morning, there was a real danger that the match would have to be called off.

Blackpool manager, Gary Bowyer, admitted that by late morning the pitch was flooded:‎

"Itís a tough one, isnít it? If you were here at 11.15am, the game was off. It was as simple as that, because the pitch was flooded‎‎," said Bowyer.

‎It was another hour before the rain stopped, and it would have been impossible to make a flooded pitch playable in the short time available.

The referee's body, the PGMOL issued this statement on Monday:‎

‎"Following heavy rain in the Blackpool area on Saturday, the first of three pitch inspections took place at 12.15pm with both clubs indicating their desire for the game to go ahead as scheduled.†

"A final inspection was ordered for 2.00pm where the referee deemed a number of areas of Bloomfield Road playing surface unplayable due to being waterlogged and, as a result, reluctantly took the decision to postpone the fixture."‎

It was a very special day for Blackpool, with a pre-match tribute to club legend, Jimmy Armfield planned.

The Seasiders were understandably desperate to stage the match and referee, Carl Boyeson, was sympathic.†

He gave them as long as he could to make the pitch playable, though there was never any realistic chance of getting the match on.

In normal circumstances, Blackpool would probably have called for an early morning inspection by a local referee.

 

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