Hornets left bewildered by late call-off

Football - Debenham LC v Dereham Town. DLFC Manager Stuart Reavell at the goal that caused the game to controversially be cancelled FIVE minutes before kick off. ANL-151219-175650006

Football - Debenham LC v Dereham Town. DLFC Manager Stuart Reavell at the goal that caused the game to controversially be cancelled FIVE minutes before kick off. ANL-151219-175650006

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Debenham LC manager Stuart Reavell conceded he was left somewhat bewildered after seeing his side’s encounter postponed just five minutes before kick-off.

The Hornets were preparing to face Dereham Town Reserves in the Thurlow Nunn First Division on Saturday, but were informed the contest would not go ahead moments before kick-off as the match officials ruled an area in one of the goal-mouths at Friends Meadow was unplayable.

That left Reavell less than impressed with the late decision, having had no prior warning to concerns over the playing surface from the officials, who were present at the ground from 2pm.

“I have to be careful what I say, but from my point of view the decision taken was very disappointing,” said the Hornets manager, whose side are set to travel to Stowmarket Town on Monday (3pm).

“I considered the pitch to be fine at the time and, in all honesty, I still do.

“The referee asked us to rectify an issue with the goal net, which we did, but there was no mention about the pitch itself. Then five minutes before kick off we were informed the match had been called off because the goalmouth was boggy.

“We thought it was a poor decision because, let’s face it, at this time of the year goal mouths are going to be affected, but we felt the game should have gone ahead.

“We played King’s Lynn when the pitch was much the same a week previously, but what can you do?.

“We had no rain in the three days prior to the match and, to us, the pitch was fine apart from a little patch in the goalmouth, but it is the referee’s decision.”

Debenham chairman Kevin Snell was also left confused by the decision as he raised concerns about having to reschedule the match, adding that costs come with that as a consequence.

“Our groundsman considered the pitch playable. He usually contacts me early on the day if he feels there is a concern, but he considered it playable,” he said.

“We have certainly played on it in a worse state in the past, but I guess that’s the way it is. Perhaps we are from a different generation with a different mind-set, but it was deemed dangerous and that is that.

“It did come as a massive surprise though because I hadn’t even given it a second thought that it could be called off.

“The other problem we have is that it will now cause issues with rescheduling the match and the cost to do so to the club.”

Meanwhile, the Thurlow Nunn League confirmed any decision to postpone an encounter is purely down to the match officials’ discretion.

“It is the referee’s decision, we have no sway over any decision of the officials,” confirmed Thurlow Nunn chairman and grounds standards officer Peter Hutchings.

“Their decision, at any stage of the match, is abiding and that is the way it is.

“The officials make a decision on the safety and security of the players and we cannot counter any decision that is taken.

“There is no time limit as to when a game can be called off, if the officials feel the circumstances are impossible to continue then they are within their right to make a decision.”