A BUNFIGHT still happened between City and Raiders despite no football taking place at a washed out Victoria Ground.

The hotly-anticipated first derby between Worcester’s two senior Saturday sides was called off as the teams warmed up half an hour before kick-off following a second pitch inspection by referee Richard Walker.

MATCH POSTPONED - City v Raiders off after second pitch inspection 

The call divided opinion with Raiders taking to the club’s Twitter feed to say City had “requested” and “pushed for” a second inspection and that there had been “no effort made to help disperse water from the small area that [had] standing water on it”.

The club then quoted a tweet from ex-City skipper and Raiders centre-half Jordan Stoddart, commenting that the “pitch looks spot on”.

Secretary Kevin Preece addressed City fans through the club’s official account, stating: “To all City fans – at 6pm tonight the pitch was playable with rain only just starting to fall (spitting).

“At 6.30pm the referee took a look at the pitch, not requested by either club, and said it was fine.

“At 7pm I walked the centre of the pitch towards the North Stand, the middle of the pitch leading up to the edge of the box in front of the North Stand was covered in large puddles, seen by officials of both clubs.

“I requested the referee take a further look at the pitch, 15 minutes later the referee and assistants appeared and inspected, they were all in agreement with no pressure put on them by either club that the pitch was not playable, this explained to myself and a Raiders official.

“The game was called off and a new date will [be] organised between both clubs in the coming days.”

Rain had been falling steadily but consistently from 6pm with the pitch given the thumbs up following an initial viewing by the match officials.

Standing water had started to emerge as the teams warmed up with one area halfway between the centre circle and the North Stand appearing particularly boggy from the dugouts.

Rain was forecast to fall for the rest of the night.

Worcester News:

City manager Ashley Vincent, speaking prior to the statements being put out on Twitter, said: “They made the right decision.

“It was a mudbath down the centre of the pitch. There is a conciousness that two teams play here and there are games on Saturday and Sunday.

“I don’t think the officials took that into consideration, it was just unplayable on the night.

“It was checked when they first got here but by the time they had gone in to get ready there had been a huge downpour and when they came back out they realised it was not playable."

Vincent revealed the late call off had been particularly unwelcome with City hoping to run the rule over long-term absentee Joe Hawkins ahead of Sunday’s FA Vase last-32 tie at home to Coventry United (3pm).

“That’s the biggest blow for me,” added Vincent.

"It was about getting football and fitness into players that have not had as many minutes as they would have liked lately. Still you cannot do anything about the weather.

“It was a chance to get Joe, who has been a big player and a big miss for us, some valuable minutes to see where he was at and whether he comes into contention.

“He is a fit boy who looks after himself but match fitness is very different, particularly with him being out for nine or 10 weeks.

“We will train a couple of times between now and the game and see how he is feeling and make the best decision for the team and the club.”

When approached, Raiders assistant manager Chris Cornes referred Worcester News to manager Karl Gormley for comment. 

Cornes later tweeted: "I’ve never seen a team so happy for a game to be called off as I have tonight.

"My boys were absolutely gutted. I’m sure a few of the other teams officials were shaking hands!"

Bromsgrove Sporting manager Bren Kelly, whose side has a home clash of the Southern Premier Central table-toppers against Tamworth on Saturday, simply tweeted: "Happy days."

At least someone was happy.