Whitley Bay’s derby game at Ashington was postponed on Saturday despite the sterling efforts of the Colliers to make their saturated Woodhorn Lane pitch playable.
Ground staff and officials spent three hours trying to overcome the effects of the persistent heavy rain, but despite putting sand on the worst affected areas, their efforts proved in vain and with the downpour continuing, the game was called off at midday.
Both clubs had hoped that the new year would signal a change in fortunes following a series of postponements due to the wet winter conditions, but yet again the weather had the final say.
Remarkably, December was a month during which Whitley played just once, the home game against Bedlington Terriers providing an early Christmas present in the form of a much needed 3-1 victory.
Meanwhile Ashington had fared even worse, suffering a catalogue of postponements stretching as far back as late November.
The Northern League has acted quickly to rearrange Saturday’s fixture and Whitley are now scheduled to travel to Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday, February 23.
This Saturday, weather permitting, Whitley will visit West Auckland Town, one of the few sides who overcame the elements last weekend but suffered a 4-0 defeat at home to title chasing Shildon.
One of the leading sides in recent years, West have struggled this season and currently lie one place below Whitley, but crucially they have played six more games.
When the sides met at Hillheads in August on the opening day of the season, Whitley ran out comfortable 3-0 winners, and a similar outcome at the tricky Darlington Road ground would be a welcome boost for Paddy Atkinson’s side after their enforced period of mid-season inactivity.
Next Tuesday evening (January 12), Whitley are due to take on Consett at Hillheads, but there is considerable doubt over this fixture as depending on the weather, the Steelmen may have cup commitments that night.
Further news of that game will be available via the club’s website at www.whitleybayfc.com
With December’s postponed fixtures having been allocated new dates, Whitley’s January programme is as follows:
Saturday 9th, West Auckland (away); Tuesday 12th, (provisional) Consett (home); Saturday 16th, Dunston UTS (home); Tuesday 19th, Morpeth Town (home) Northumberland Senior Cup quarter-final; Saturday 23rd, Shildon (away); Tuesday 26th, Guisborough Town (home); Saturday 30th, Bishop Auckland (away).