West Yorkshire League: ‘Biblical’ rain forces Wetherby Athletic game off

Wetherby Athletic full back Joe Wilkes
Wetherby Athletic full back Joe Wilkes

Furious Wetherby Athletic manager Mark Forster gave out a volley of abuse during his side’s abandoned home clash against Beeston St Anthony’s on Saturday.

Forster let rip at match officials Eddie Stapleton, Neil Munday and Dane Hill for failing to call the match off earlier, following a “biblical” 20-minute downpour in the first half.

The manager said the heavy rain left the pitch on the Ings looking like a “swamp” and said it was an “utter farce” it was allowed to continue..

The match was eventually called off at half-time, but Beeston had fired themselves into a 1-0 lead and Forster said they were reluctant to leave the field.

He said: “We had a swamp. It absolutely battered down for 20 minutes. It was biblical.

“There were huge areas of standing water on the pitch.

“I completely lost my head. I told the referee ‘you’re a disgrace’. It was an utter farce. It was impossible to clear the ball.

“I knew exactly what was going to happen and sure enough they scored on 35 minutes when Joe Wilkes back pass held up in a pool of water.

“As soon as they scored, Beeston didn’t want to come off.

“I said to the referee, ‘this is your fault, you could have taken the players off at 0-0.’

“It was completely unplayable. The pitch would have been absolutely wrecked. “

The match will now be replayed but a new date has yet to be set.

Athletic lie 12th in the table, having collected 11 points from their opening nine matches.

This week, attention turns to the Barkston Ash Cup competition with a “tasty” trip to Leeds side Kippax on Saturday.

Kippax were relegated to West Yorkshire League Division One last season following Athletic’s late resurgence up the league.

“We sent them down last season, and I am sure they will be looking at it and saying ‘let’s see if we can give them a bloody nose’,” Forster added.

The Barkston Ash Cup is a trophy the gaffer has backed his side to win, and believes they are favourites to do so.

“We ought to be getting to final,” he said. “We would be disappointed not to get there.

“We have the personnel to go all the way in this competition.”

However, it is likely Wetherby will be without Harrogate Town winger Jack Emmett for the foreseeable future following the youngster’s bright spells for the Vanarama North side.

Forster has spoken to two strikers with Evo-Stik Northern League experience to try and replace the ‘irreplaceable’ talent.

“We are the second tightest defence in the Premier division but we really do need to find somebody to start scoring goals,” he said.

“We don’t have anyone that can replace Jack, and no team would.

“I am talking to a couple of lads and if I cant get one, that would be great.”