Pitch inspection to decide Ascot's fate
ASCOT United will know by tomorrow lunchtime if their FA Vase match at Borrowash will go ahead.
The pitch at the Watkinson Construction Bowl is still covered with snow and with temperatures hovering below zero and a possibility of more snow in the East Midlands before the weekend, it is looking increasingly unlikely that the match will go ahead.
A statement from the Borrowash Victoria website said: "Due to the on-going poor weather, the Borroash pitch will be inspected at noon on Friday.
"As of Thursday afternoon, there was still snow on the ground and fresh snow falling. This is on top of the sub-zero temperatures that have kept the playing surface solid for most of the week.
"A change in the weather is forecast on Friday but this may be preceeded by another band of snow (up to 5cm according to the BBC)."
* ASCOT United assistant manager Paul McGrotty believes it is 'a testing time for everyone' at the club as the big freeze continues to take its toll on their FA Vase adventure.
The Yellamen were scheduled to play Derbyshire-based side Borrowash Victoria in the fourth round of the FA Vase last Saturday, but like clubs up and down the country, saw the fixture postponed due to heavy snow and freezing conditions.
The game is due to be played this Saturday instead, but Ascot continue to play the waiting game ahead of one of the biggest matches in the club's history.
Ominously, the Arctic conditions do not look like abating, with temperatures plummeting to -5 in Borrowash this week, giving the pitch little opportunity to thaw out.
Speaking exclusively to the News, McGrotty said: "It's a bit worrying really, it's looking in doubt but we've still got to prepare as if it's on.
"Training will go ahead as scheduled. We've just got to get into our heads that there's going to be a game on.
"The only danger is if there's a thaw on Friday, it could be up in the air right until Saturday morning. It's not ideal but it's the same for most teams."
It is the first time the Yellamen have reached the last 16 of the nationwide competition, after they beat Colliers Wood, Reading Town, Chinnor, Witney Town and Slimbridge in previous rounds.
Another postponement also threatens to derail their excellent form, something which McGrotty is all too aware of.
"It feels like we've not played for a while," he said. "It's a little bit disruptive because we've been on a good run and that's when you want games to come thick and fast. It's a testing time."
Backroom staff and volunteers have been working hard to deal with the logistics of last weekend's postponement, from ensuring player availability to re-booking the coach.
A statement from the Borrowash website read: "The weather remains a challenge. With temperatures forecast to be little above freezing, the question is will the pitch thaw and drain?"
McGrotty admits he knows very little about their opposition but is predicting a tough game.
"They're on a hell of a run in their own league and are fourth.
"They've scored a lot of goals and I think they're going to be a threat going forward, which we will have to deal with. They like to get the ball down and play."
With all 16 Vase ties postponed over the weekend, the draw for the fifth round was made on Monday. Ascot's reward for getting through would be a trip to either Newport (IoW) or Brighouse Town, West Yorkshire on February 9.
FOR the very latest news and updates on whether the game will go ahead, visit our website www.bracknellnews.co.uk/sport or follow us on Twitter @BerkshireSport1.
This article appeared in Bracknell News 24 Jan 13