Falkirk Ladies thankful for change in season

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

next.

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

that.

Falkirk Ladies haven't seen any of their matches postponed recently - because they're currently inthe close

season.

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

before.

"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

helped."

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."