Late call-off hits Daventry Town and Barton Rovers in the pocket

NO PROBLEM - Daventry Town boss Allan Smart puts his players through their paces on the Communications Park pitch that the referee deemed was unfit for play on Saturday (Picture: Dave Ikin)
NO PROBLEM - Daventry Town boss Allan Smart puts his players through their paces on the Communications Park pitch that the referee deemed was unfit for play on Saturday (Picture: Dave Ikin)

Daventry Town and Barton Rovers are both out of pocket to the tune of several hundred bounds when the health and safety-conscious referee called off Saturday’s match at Communications Park only 20 minutes before the scheduled kick-off time.

The pitch was deemed to be frozen just under the surface, although all the other 10 matches in the Southern League’s Central Division went ahead as planned including Aylesbury United’s shock 1-0 win at nearby Rugby.

The postponement came hard on the heels of the recent unnecessary calling off against Chalfont St Peter, and will no doubt be replaced by another Tuesday night night fixture in front of a disappointing two-figure crowd.

Both teams were willing to give it a go at the weekend, but the match officials deemed the conditions to be too hazardous resulting in unwanted bills for both participating clubs.

Daventry had to meet the match officials’ travelling costs and pay for unwanted programmes, while Barton’s players and officials used a coach for the 80-mile round trip from Bedfordshire.

On the positive side though, spectators who bought programmes will have taken heart from the written comments made by Town manager Allan Smart who hinted at a restored players’ budget next season.

The wily Scotsman referred to a recent conversation in which chairman Iain Humphrey had indicated a restoration of the £1,500 a week budget allocation which was slashed by two-thirds before Christmas.

If that is truly the case then Daventry could mount a third promotion bid in six years at a time when the step four league looks to be at its weakest in living memory.

On Saturday I witnessed a below par performance by a Rugby Town side which looks virtually certain to make the play-offs alongside other moderate teams such as Aylesbury and Bedworth United.

Gate receipts remain a concern though for the 2015-16 campaign if both Kettering Town and Rugby gain promotion, although the arrival of AFC Rushden & Diamonds from the UCL would go some way to offset this problem.

Despite the weekend postponement Barton officials could not keep the smiles off their faces following the midweek transfer of teenager Keshi Anderson to Crystal Palace in what became the first move straight from step four football into the Premier League.

The under-contract Anderson netted the village club £30,000 after scoring a six-minute second-half hat-trick as a substitute against Crystal Palace Under-21s whilst on trial with Brentford.

Daventry meanwhile have lost another couple of players in very different circumstances with central defender Jamal Clarke upping sticks and moving to Australia.

Improving midfield player Ben Farrell has taken a leaf out of Josh Cole’s book by declaring himself ready to take a break from semi-professional football in a move that leaves the Purple Army alarmingly short of quality in the middle of the park.

With AFC Hayes and/or North Greenford United destined for relegation this season the comings and goings from Browns Road remain largely academic, although just where the money is going to come from next season is still a matter of conjecture.

Is the chairman going to be in a position to start pumping money into the club again, has the clubhouse suddenly started to make big money or has he lined up an outside sponsor?

Only time will tell!