Pete Goodlad says this is the worst season he has known for weather in his 40 years of running Athersley Rec and is unsure whether they and their tenants Shaw Lane AFC will be able to complete their crammed fixture lists.

Both sides have eight league matches and a cup tie still to be played at Sheerien Park before their seasons are due to end on April 28. That is 18 matches in 35 days. Rec's home games on Saturday and Monday were called off this week after the pitch was covered in snow last weekend following being blighted by rain and frost for most of the season.

Athersley have played just three home league games since the first week of 2018 while Shaw Lane had played only one home league game since January until a fixture against Grantham Town which was scheduled for last night.

General manager Goodlad, who is back at the club full-time after a fight with cancer earlier in the season, said: "I've never known anything like it. In 2011 we had snow in March but this time it has just been bad weather non-stop since November which has never happened before. It's the worst I have ever known, no doubt about it. Since I've come back from my operation we have had constant problems with the weather. It's a total wash-out."

Goodlad is at the club almost every day now he has fully recovered from bowel cancer which required surgery in November and led to plenty of support and tributes from clubs across non-league football.

In Text Promo Image

"It's good to know that people are there for me when I need them and that's just what the non-league community is like. It really helped me during what was not the best time, and so did my family who were all fantastic. Alan Richardson (co-founder of Rec) was a godsend and kept the club running. I am much better now and the doctors are really happy. I do feel the cold a lot more now so it's not ideal to come back to four months of rain, snow and frost which we have had to clear off the pitch. But that's all part of running a non-league club and you have to get on with it."

While the drainage system is working well, part of the Sheerien Park pitch is subsiding into a slight slope. Goodlad said: "There's a bit of subsidence and the pitch does drop down a little bit. We've had a professional firm out to look at it and we're going to see what can be done to make it right. The weather has obviously not helped with that.

"We're going to have games Saturday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday on some weeks. I honestly don't know if the pitch will hold up. We haven't been able to get onto the pitch to work on it because of the snow and rain. There is more rain forecast throughout March then, if we get April showers, God knows what we are going to do. Hopefully we can make it through but I can't be sure of it and I don't know what will happen at the moment if we just can't fit the games in."

Evo-Stik Premier side Shaw Lane have been groundsharing with Rec all season after leaving Barnsley Rugby Union Club, and their fixtures take priority over Athersley's. Goodlad said: "Shaw Lane are having a bit of hassle from their league about not playing games. But, if you look at the games that have been called off, Yorkshire and the North East has been hit really badly and places like Nottinghamshire and Liverpool haven't been as bad.

"It's not our fault if we keep getting the bad weather. It's not just us having games called off. The Evo-Stik League has said they are not extending the season and they haven't let Shaw Lane use the reserve pitch, which is like a bowling green, because it doesn't meet their requirements."

Rec are currently 16th in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division table with 31 points from 30 games. Former Barnsley defender Luke Potter has been the manager since September after Wayne Thompson was sacked. Rec are 13 points above the three-team relegation zone.

Goodlad said: "As long as we stay up, we have had a good season. Luke has brought some good players in and we play good football. When we've got our first team out we are a match for anyone but we have ten injured at the moment so it is hard. Hopefully we will get a lot of them back soon and get a few wins on the board to end the season on a high. It's hard for us to compete in a league with a lot of money being splashed about but we're just trying to hold our own and consolidate."