6:51pm Tuesday 15th January 2013
By James Colasanti
WROXHAM manager David Batch fears they’ll be kicked out of the Ryman league cup after their quarter final at Concord Rangers last night was postponed following a day of confusion.
The Norfolk-based club failed to travel to Essex because of concerns over travel safety in the freezing conditions, despite being instructed by the Ryman League to play the game.
Batch said their coach company was not prepared to make the journey after police and their county council advised it was unsafe to drive following a downfall of snow.
Concord manager Danny Cowley said it had been hugely disruptive for them and felt Wroxham should have travelled to the game.
Batch, whose Wroxham side sit 18th in Ryman One North, said: “We got our players to leave work at 2pm but our coach company said it was not prepared to travel because it would be too dangerous to get there.
“And their assessment proved spot on because we’ve had people sat in traffic up here for up to three hours. “It’s not Concord’s fault because their pitch is playable, and it must be frustrating for them.
“I think the problem is the league made a bad decision not to postpone the game to start with because we told them from about 9am that this could happen.”
He added: “My fear is that by not going to the game we have broken the rules and will be expelled from the competition.
“But I hope the fact that we told them from very early on will be a mitigating factor.”
Cowley, whose Concord side are in the play-off places in the Ryman Premier, said: “We are very disappointed because this has big ramifications for us in terms of training and suspensions, because Nicky Cowley would have completed his ban.
“And because we have done so well in the cups, we now have a fixture pile up. And three people have spent most of the day making sure our pitch was ready, and we are a small club.
“I know they’ve had some challenging weather in Norfolk, but the road network is moving. Wroxham are a big non league club and this is semi-professional football. The league made the call and we think they should have travelled.
“I’ve no interest in seeing them thrown out of the competition, but we have been massively disadvantaged by this situation.
“Now we will do whatever the league say – we’ll replay it next week or take our place in the semi-final.”
Ryman League chairman Alan Turvey said the matter would now be discussed at a board meeting on Thursday and correspondence from both clubs would be considered.
He said: “The referee decided the playing surface was in order, so Concord had made the necessary arrangements.
“Wroxham expressed concerns regarding travel, and advised us they would not be playing the game.
“We have emails from both clubs and will seek further explanations and discuss it at the board meeting.”
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