After the frustration of the last minute postponement of their home game against Mickleover Sports last weekend, Evo-Stik League club Rainworth MW are hoping for a return to Division One South action tomorrow when they are set to visit Bedworth United.
The Mickleover game was all set to kick off, the players were changed and warming up, and the pitch was in good condition, when a sudden thunderstorm and accompanying cloudburst changed all that and sent everyone scurrying for shelter.
Within a matter of minutes the pitch had become unplayable, and even the normally superb natural drainage at the ground could not cope with the deluge.
The match referee held off from a final decision to give the water time to soak away, but it was clearly not going to recover in time.
Postponements for waterlogging are extremely rare at Kirklington Road, but this ill-timed storm denied the Wrens the chance to bounce back from an undeserved single goal defeat at leaders Halesowen Town.
However, the omens for a quick return to action after the lay-off do not look good, with Bedworth’s The Oval reported to be in poor condition after the persistent rain of January, and more forecast before the weekend.
Manager Scott Rickards bemoaned the chance to bounce back from the Halesowen defeat and get some momentum going,
He said: “We know that Bedworth’s pitch has taken a hammering and it doesn’t look good for a game on Saturday, given the forecast, so while we are preparing for the game we are also preparing for another week without any football.
“It would have been tough opposition against Mickleover but we were expecting a really good game between two good footballing sides on a pitch which, until less than an hour before kick-off, had stood up well.
“If the match at Bedworth falls, that will have left us with no football played in three weeks prior to our next game the following week at home to Coalville, and it means we will only have training sessions to help us to get back up to speed.
“So if the game at Bedworth is on it will be a great game for us to get back into serious action.”
It was frustration, too, for three players in particular, who would have made their home debuts against Mickleover, in fact experienced former Middlesbrough striker Tris Whitman had only signed the previous day.
Meanwhile fellow front man Nathan Forbes-Swindells, from NCEL club Worksop Parramore, and youngster Regan Edridge from Chesterfield, were both set for their first home appearances after figuring at Halesowen.
On the newcomers, Rickards said: “The club wants to succeed and try to finish in the best ever final placing in the division, as well as putting our name back onto the Notts Senior Cup. Sometimes to do that you have to bring fresh faces and new ideas to the table.
“We can be very aggressive in attack, we have sorted our defence out and have put some solid performances at the back, but we have relied too much on Ashley Longstaff to score our goals, and on occasions when he hasn’t scored we have struggled to find anyone else to do so. Ash has been carrying a knock for a while now, but he is such a big player for us.
“So Matty Clarke and I have had a look at what fresh faces we can bring in to take some of the pressure off Ash, but also to put some pressure on one or two others to have to perform.
“We’ve brought in a bit of experience with Tris. We know him and what he offers. He performed well against us a couple of weeks back for Dunkirk in the Senior Cup. I’ve known him a long time and have played alongside him so I know what he’s about.
“He will be a god asset for us in situations where we need a little bit of magic to turn games our way, in the way that Jack Hawkins has also started doing to better effect lately.
“Nathan is young and very pacey and has the ability to get in behind defenders. When he gets into the rhythm of how we play he will score a lot of goals for us.
“Edridge, meanwhile, has shown an impressive maturity in the two games he has played, belying his 17 years, since joining us from Chesterfield
“Mentioning Jack Hawkins, he has blossomed since Christmas but he still has a lot to learn about football at our level after coming from a professional club.
“In that situation you have to take on board what non-League is about and how you are going to play your part, and that takes time when you are stepping down from a full-time professional club.
“It’s been a learning curve for Jack during the time he was out of the side, he is still only young, but he is taking on board what is expected of him, and he has been probably our most consistent player over our last four or five games since coming back into the side.
“We need that to continue, and over 90 minutes because teams struggle to handle him until well into games, but when they do eventually get to grips with him he needs to have a few more weapons in his armoury so he can change his play when necessary and still be as effective. That is something which will come and I’m sure that he is going to continue to play a big part for us between now and the end of the season.”
England’s 1966 World Cup winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks, and comedian John Styles (son of another 1966 hero Nobby) will be the guest speakers when Rainworth stage their next Sports Evening in the Mines’ Welfare concert room on Thursday, 27th February.
The evening is open to both gentlemen and ladies, and tickets at £30will include the customary high quality buffet meal.
An extra attraction for fans of League Two neighbours Mansfield Town, will be a question and answer session with Stags’ assistant manager Adam Murray, a good friend to the club, plus the leading scorer from their promotion season back to the Football League, Matt Green, now with Birmingham City.
For further details or to purchase tickets contact secretary Les Lee on 07889 561787.