It’s that time of the football season at non-league level where the weather dictates and matches are consequently called off.
If Ashington’s clash against Ryhope CW on Saturday gets the green light – at the fifth time of asking – it will be the first game for both clubs for three weeks.
But despite the recent intervention of the Beast from the East, Woodhorn Lane boss Steve Bowey took time out at the weekend – after his side’s trip to face Billingham Synthonia had been called off due to a waterlogged pitch – to laud the highest compliment on his set of players.
“All managers become frustrated when basically, because of the weather, clubs go through a spell of inactivity on the field,” he said.
“Players and supporters are no different too. But last Thursday at the Hirst Welfare in Ashington, I witnessed the best ever training session at this level of football by the group of players at our club. It was phenomenal in terms of quality, tempo, application and full commitment. It was right up there and better than at outfits higher up where I have played – it was that good.”
Durham-born Bowey continued: “The lads have been excellent and I cannot shower them with enough praise.
“My first game in charge saw us exit the Buildbase FA Vase at the hands of Hall Road Rangers and shortly after, when we bowed out of the Northumberland Senior Cup against Blyth AFC, our season was effectively over.
“I’ve seen it happen before where, when there is nothing to play for, players allow their standards to drop. But as we approach the end of the campaign with 10 games remaining, that is certainly not the case with my players after the way they have applied themselves.”
He went on: “I’m looking to finish the campaign strongly. I want players at Ashington who are going to take the club to the next level and I’m already building for next season. In terms of facilities and the way the players are looked after, I regard Ashington as being one of the top three outfits in the Northern League.”
Bowey faces a race against time after the final whistle on Saturday, as he will travel to Dumfries to take part in a talk-in – which is a sellout – at Queen of the South, one of his former clubs.