THE sporting schedule has been pock-marked by call-offs in the past fortnight, thanks to the freezing temperatures and ?urries of snow.
It's lead to an unof?cial
winter shutdown with only
one match going ahead one
weekend and only half the
Inevitably that's weight to
calls for a winter shutdown
to be re-introduced, and
looking to one example
shows the merits - and
possible problems of just
Falkirk Ladies haven't seen any of their matches postponed recently - because they're currently inthe close
Re-organisation of ?xtures two years ago changed the female footballing calendar for youths, and then the senior ladies' game followed
suit playing March to November this year.
Had that not happenned they'd have seen one of the ?agship matches of the
season - the League Cup ?nal - wiped out by the recent snow.
So the Ladies haven't suffered with frozen pitches, although they did have a transport headache as snow gridlocked the roads, throwing their pre-season training into disarray.
"When we suffer this kind of weather it really makes you glad you're not playing at this time of year," explained
club administrator Alison Mackie.
"That's not to say we haven't been affected because we have struggled with school lets being off,
surfaces being covered in snow and the white-out means later possibilities of ?oods and more to come - so we're able to ride this spell out but the longer it goes the more it'll affect us - we're due back in March."
But the ladies game won't face the backlog of games
that could befall their male counterparts if the cold
snap continues into the New Year.
"Playing in June was really good - we managed to play a lot of midweek matches then, and that was something we'd never really
managed to do consistently
"Holidays also didn't prove to be a problem because in July we have
a complete shutdown in a mid-season break."
To get into that situation though, and give recovery time, meant there was a need for a transition season.
"That season was strange - playing half a season with nothing really to play for before the real league started, but this is the ?rst full summer-termseason the senior ladies' game has had and it has been a success.
"The youths were playing it the season before and it is
bene?tting the game.
"Had we stuck with the original calendar this
weather would have hit our League Cup ?nal - so even that proves how it has
Falkirk's Leanne Ross, who stars for ladies' game champions Glasgow City agreed she's much happier - and relieved - playing in
summer and training indoor in winter.
But just as the cold weather has interrupted the
pre-season - even the indoor sessions - the summer term has thrown up some lesser expected problems.
"It's more dif?cult to recruit, in my opinion," added Mackie, who also coaches Falkirk's under-17s.
"Trying to get girls out on cold winter nights to do the
pre-season slog isn't the best way to introduce them to
the game and we lost a few playersduring the transition
season - but the bene?t does come in summer."
So after a full season of football from March to
November would Alison recommend the change?
"It requires a complete change in mindset, but the
pitches are better and it's worked well so far."