Foster asks officials to extend regular Southern League season

HECTIC TIME AHEAD - Daventry Town boss Darran Foster
HECTIC TIME AHEAD - Daventry Town boss Darran Foster

Daventry Town manager Darran Foster has joined the growing clamour for an early May extension to the Southern League season following the unprecedented spell of wet weather.

By Monday, Town were among 17 clubs in the top four levels of non-League football which still had 21 or more league fixtures to fulfil by the end of April deadline.

Worst affected with a dozen teams involved was the Ryman Isthmian League which has a top-heavy 24 clubs in all three divisions. By contrast the Northern Premier League has got off almost scot free!

Braintree, Tonbridge and Gosport all have huge backlogs in the Conference League while Poole Town and Daventry themselves are worst affected in the Calor League.

“Obviously I would be all in favour of the league programme being extended by a couple of weeks,”said Foster.

“Even without any more interruptions we are going to have to play three-times-a-week on several occasions.”

Foster’s comments were in response to a call for action from Poole chairman Clive Robbins who claimed this week that ‘fans cannot afford to shell out £10 a game to watch numerous end-of-season matches’. For his part, the Communications Park boss stressed the heightened risk of injury to players and likely difficulties encountered in them getting time off 
work to travel to frequent midweek matches in the London area.

In the short term though there was some good news this week for the Purple Army with the growing likelihood that a five-week lay-off will be ended on Saturday by a trip to Barton-le-Clay.

The Bedfordshire village club showed great enterprise last week by covering the whole pitch and thus allowing the 1-1 draw with Beaconsfield SYCOB to go-ahead nine days ago.

Meanwhile Foster’s older brother, first team secretary Nigel, has been tearing his hair out attempting to re-arrange postponed fixtures.

By the time of writing there was even a move to try and talk Potters Bar into travelling to Browns Road tonight.

With Egham’s flood waters featuring daily on television news bulletins attempts were also made to switch Tuesday night’s encounter at the Runnymede Stadium with the Dunstable game on March 25.

Unfortunately the long-time Central Division leaders, who have lost three times recently, would not play ball because of an obviously needed pre-arranged midweek bonding exercise.

With the NFA Senior Cup final against Cogenhoe United at Sixfields brought forward a week to April 8, Town have only one blank Tuesday night to fill (April 15).

Yet, there are four outstanding fixtures still to fit in against Potters Bar, Egham, AFC Hayes and Kettering Town.

Hayes and the Poppies have already arranged to clash on that mid-April date, leaving Nigel Foster with limited options. Like his brother he is acutely aware of how fixture congestion cost Slough Town a play-offs place last season.

Extended cup runs have presented Daventry with a similar predicament.

Last season the Northern Premier League programme was stretched into early May and the South West Peninsula League is to follow suit this time.

Why cannot the Southern League jump on the bandwagon too?