Weather disrupts pre-season schedule as games called off

James Gordon
Freezing weather hits pre-season schedule

The freezing weather conditions have hit some clubs’ preparations for the new season.

Three more games on Sunday have now been cancelled.

Despite previously switching the game to Dewsbury, Bradford’s efforts to try and get their game against Huddersfield on has fallen foul of a frozen pitch at Flair Stadium.

Hunslet’s game against Halifax Panthers has also been called off, as has the Jake Webster testimonial match between Keighley and Castleford.

A Hunslet statement said: “The pitch at the South Leeds Stadium is temporarily unfit for Rugby League this afternoon as a result of the freezing conditions of the last couple of days; in addition, the stadium surrounds are slippery and potentially unsafe for spectators.”

Already gone

The first to go on Saturday was the scheduled pre-season friendly between York and Batley due to a frozen pitch.

A York club statement said: “The decision was taken following a pitch inspection alongside representatives from the Rugby Football League and the York Stadium Management Company and in agreement with Batley Bulldogs.

“Despite the best efforts of the York Stadium Management Company and their ground staff, the pitch was deemed unsuitable to be played on at this time.”

There is just one more weekend until the start of the new Championship season, which York kick off against Widnes on February 5.

Last season’s Championship Grand Finalists Batley start their season with a trip to London Broncos.

The Bulldogs are due to travel to Hunslet for their final pre-season game next week.

Another game, between Doncaster and Newcastle, has also fallen foul to the weather.

A Dons club statement said: “The ground staff has worked tirelessly in the build-up to the game to ensure it could go ahead with frost covers laid on the pitch once last weekend’s game against York had come to an end.

“However, sub-zero temperatures throughout the week have prevailed. After an inspection of the pitch, along with the forecast over the next 24 hours, the decision was made that play would not be possible.”

Frozen pitches have decimated the Saturday afternoon football programme, and further games could be at risk.

Other games

Featherstone beat Hull KR in freezing conditions on Friday night for Craig Hall’s testimonial, while London Broncos took on London Skolars in the capital.

The undersoil heating at Leigh Sports Village meant no issues for the first run out of the Leopards against Leeds on Saturday afternoon.

Oldham have confirmed that their game at home to Widnes is definitely on, while Barrow are due to entertain Cumbrian rivals Workington at Craven Park.

Super League sides Wigan and Hull are in action away at Whitehaven and Sheffield respectively.

The Super League season doesn’t start until February 16.

READ MORE: List of 2023 rugby league pre-season friendlies