IN a surprisingly open winter it is interesting to note that despite experiencing one of the least hostile January’s in living memory there is a back log of fixtures among sports in the area who play outside.
Ellon United’s game at the weekend was one of the victims of the sharp frost of Friday night, making the Meadows unplayable once again.
The frozen ground scenario was repeated around the country, not least in the North - east where the soccer programme was all but wiped out, including the games involving Ellon Amateurs and Ellon Thistle. Rugby was once again badly affected by the weather, leaving Ellon Rugby to ponder on a pile up of fixtures which could result in the National League 1 playing deep into the spring.
But while there is widespread concern about repeated postponements in all outside sports there is also cause for worry about the skills level whereby young players in particular are not able to perform to their maximum potential.
“How on earth can our players perform in appalling conditions. The frost is probably the least of our problems. It’s the heavy conditions which badly affect our players”, said one local soccer coach who was reluctant to be named.
“The skills of youngsters will never prevail in the mud, rain and the wind. We are already trailing well behind other countries. Our climate does not help”, said the coach of 30 plus years.
His view is shared by Mike Avis the Ellon rugby head coach who said: “How can we get players to produce quality rugby in such vile conditions. Summer soccer and rugby are inevitable. It’s just amazing that it is taking so long to bring it about.”
The argument has raged for years with the traditionalists of both codes claiming soccer and rugby are winter sports meant to be played in all conditions, but not shared by many coaches who believe it is time for change.
“It’s time to get into the 21st century in which we can catch up with other nations who are concentrating on skill development”, said Avis.
If you have a view of this complex, age old debate the Ellon Times would like to hear from you.