With the adverse weather hitting fixtures hard, the debate over whether artificial pitches are the future for lower league clubs continues to be thrown up.
Kettering Town’s Latimer Park pitch is one that always suffers at this time of year.
The Poppies haven’t played at home since drawing 0-0 with Cambridge City on December 5.
Over the past month, matches against Dorchester Town (twice), Frome Town and Bedworth United, a fixture which was switched to their artificial pitch at the turn of the year, have all been postponed due to a waterlogged surface.
The most recent match called off was a second try with Dorchester on Tuesday.
And, with water still standing on the pitch, tomorrow’s (Saturday) home clash with Stratford Town will also remain in doubt.
But it’s not just Kettering who have been suffering.
Their clash at Slough Town, who play at Beaconsfield SYCOB’s Holloways Park, last weekend was called off just an hour-and-a-half before kick-off following a heavy downpour with Poppies fans and players already on site.
And two attempts to play a fixture at Redditch United also proved fruitless.
One glance at the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division gives the game away.
Bedworth, on their artificial pitch, have played 30 league matches, 16 of them at home – more than anyone else. Compare that to Kettering’s 11 and it speaks for itself.
There are, as Poppies boss Marcus Law observes, “pros and cons” to artificial pitches. He doesn’t need reminding that Chris Carruthers and Brett Solkhon both suffered first-half injuries in the 1-1 draw at Bedworth on January 2.
But Law can see more positives than negatives when it comes to 4G surfaces.
He said: “It’s everywhere at the moment isn’t it?
“I know our pitch is not the greatest and that we share it and it throws up thoughts of having our own ground if we want to progress further.
“But we aren’t the only ones. There have been various fixtures that I have planned to go and watch that have also been called off.
“It brings up the debate about artificial pitches. If we were all playing on them then matches would be continuous, as would revenue streams.
“I have been coaching for 10 years and have watched players develop on the surface and I am all for it.
“I am sure it would change the dynamics of how the game is played to a certain extent.
“There is the argument about injuries but that’s no different to what could happen on a really sticky pitch.
“There are lots of pros and cons but when everyone is getting hit so hard, I think it’s something that should be considered.”