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Rochdale is possible venue for Worcester City match against Halifax
12:00pm Wednesday 20th February 2013 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
WORCESTER City could find themselves playing a league game at Rochdale next month if Halifax’s pitch does not improve.
City played on an atrocious sand-strewn surface at Harrogate Town last Saturday, eventually slumping to a 3-1 defeat.
But, by all accounts, The Shay is even worse. In fact it is so bad even Halifax’s rugby league team, who share the pitch, have apparently complained about it.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Australian rugby league outfit Melbourne Storm are using it as a training facility this week.
Consequently, the football club say they cannot get the surface ready in time and have switched this Saturday’s Blue Square Bet North match against Stalybridge Celtic to Rochdale’s Spotland.
The poor condition of The Shay has already led to a series of postponements, and a fixture backlog for the Yorkshiremen, with last Tuesday’s match against Harrogate being called off just 75 minutes before kick-off.
City are due to visit on Saturday, March 2, and it is looking increasingly likely the game will have to be moved, probably to League Two Rochdale.
Not an ideal situation but if it saves Carl Heeley’s team from another poor pitch, then I’m sure it will be welcomed by those at St George’s Lane.
Harrogate, another team playing catch-up in the division, have also moved matches in recent weeks, to Doncaster Rovers and York City, and could well be forced to again before the season is out.
The Wetherby Road pitch, newly relaid in places following two months without a match, was barely fit for purpose last Saturday and will surely struggle if it rains.
Rather comically, the public address announcer declared he had seen it in a worse state.
City, however, decided to play, and not very well as it transpired, so have sensibly kept their opinions of the pitch to themselves.
When I tweeted a picture of the ground, I was told I evidently had not seen what the weather had done to Halifax’s pitch or the one at Bradford Park Avenue, which was described as a farmer’s field.
Whether City get to play at Halifax remains to be seen. Otherwise, it’s a trip across the M62 to Rochdale.
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