The pitch is ok — so why was game called off FOUR days ago?

By Danny Caro, March 4, 2010

The life of a Sports Editor isn't always the bed of roses many people think it is, especially during the bad weather. On average, I compile an 8,000-word Maccabi League preview during the week. I find it hugely frustrating when a match is postponed and my work goes to waste.

My working week is more 24/6 than it is Monday to Friday. Looking at last Sunday for example, my children, who double up as my alarm clock, had me up at an unearthly 6.30am. I say unearthly as the team I manage had no game and I was looking forward to a rare lie-in.

Unable to get back to sleep, I looked out of the window and was greeted by torrential rain. On no, I thought. Will there be any games for my reporter and photographer to cover? Realising that it was too early to starting ringing MSFL managers, I made breakfast and started watching Match of the Day highlights in the hope of some inspiration. When it got a little closer to normal o'clock, my mobile woke up with messages of 'Match off' from various clubs. Maybe Facebook could save the day, I thought.

Referees Daniel Cohen, who also plays in goal for Montana A, and Laurence Thorne, replied promptly, saying that their game was still on. Cohen promised to contact me straight after his pitch inspection at Gibbons Rec.

At 9.25am I received the all-clear, the pitch was playable. Get in, I thought, so I contacted my trusty reporter and photographer who, awaiting instructions, had pulled over into the hard shoulder. Then it was down the A406.

Thinking that my work for the morning was completed, I commenced parental duties when a confused Cohen called and said: "You are not going to believe this." My heart sank. What now, I said to myself. In 10 years writing about Jewish sport, I've heard of Maccabi League matches halted by rain, snow, ice, burnt out vehicles on the pitch, joyriders trying to hit the players and so on, but this was a first.

"Apparently the council called off the game midweek," he said. "Midweek," I replied. "But you have just passed it fit this morning."

"That's right, it's playable in my opinion but as we were about to kick-off, a council man told everyone to leave the pitch. I don't understand how a council can call a game off four days before the game." That made two of us. So, with both kids hanging off me, and with my wife becoming increasingly frustrated by my unplanned work, I was back on the phone. Thankfully, a Masters match saved the day. I'd like to apologise for the episode and wish my dear wife Donna a happy 10th anniversary.

Solicitor and Jewventus player Oliver Weingarten has so far raised £7,865 after completing the first stage of the Dallaglio Cycle Slam in Rome. He joined the likes of Les Ferdinand and Lawrence Dallaglio on a circuit that will cover the Six Nations stadia. He said: "It was a great experience, filled with mixed emotions. The fundraising effort by all the riders has been monumental and it is hoped that the £1 million target will be reached, with a number of good causes benefitting through Sport Relief and the Dallaglio Foundation."

Richard Jaye has been appointed as match referee for the London Senior Cup final at Harrow Borough on April 28.

Last updated: 2:10pm, March 4 2010