Mansfield Town groundsman ‘gutted’ after first postponement in four years

Match abandoned
Match abandoned

Mansfield Town groundsman Mike ‘Mez’ Merriman admitted he was ‘gutted’ tonight after heavy rain forced the first postponement at the One Call Stadium in four years tonight.

Rain was forecast ahead of the visit of Crawley Town, but no one knew just how heavy that was going to come down.

The Stags were hoping for three points to try to get into the top three promotion places for the first time.

But they now face a frustrating wait until Saturday, 8th December before they return to League Two action.

“I am gutted,” said Merriman. “The last time we had one called off here was in November 2014 against Concord Rangers in the FA Cup.

“Everyone was geared up ready to go tonight and we could have done with the game on.

Waterlogged pitch

Waterlogged pitch

“Obviously I never want to have a game off, but sometimes you just have to hold up your hands and accept it just wasn’t meant to be.

“I know it’s been four years but that doesn’t make me feel any better.

“I said on Twitter yesterday how good the pitch was looking and that it’s come on leaps and bounds.

“That’s come back and bitten me somewhere the day after!

Downpour at OneCall Stadium

Downpour at OneCall Stadium

“I won’t be doing that again – you live by your mistakes!”

Merriman said the ground staff were shocked by the intensity of the rain from about 3pm onwards. And it wasn’t due to get any better on the forecasts.

“It’s one of them - it’s two and three inches deep on the pitch in places,” he said.

“It started about half two or so – it was steady for half an hour and then really started coming.

“The weather was just sheeting down and it’s not given up all night.

“You know it’s coming, but you spike as normal. You don’t know how bad it it’s going to come.

“We certainly didn’t anticipate it coming this crazy. It was just too much in one go. Four hours of rain has taken its toll on it.

“You always think the pitch can handle it. By 4pm I thought it was getting a bit scary as it started to fill up.”

He added: “It took the referee literally seconds to call it off. “His assessor had obviously already put it in his head as he had a walk on it earlier.

“As soon as he came on he said straight away it wouldn’t happen – no chance.

“Obviously we had the forecast from the Met Office and the BBC. We put the two together and it was pure rain all night.

“We will just leave it to drain away now as if we go on there with machinery, we’ll just make it a sloppy mess. There is no point in damaging it.

“If we’d tried to play the game would there be any point in damaging it just for one game with a long old season?”