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Beat around the Bush

PUBLISHED: 17:26 23 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:41 24 August 2010

By Chris Crees HANDS up all those that expected a postponement because of an unfit playing surface, in the middle of September. I for one certainly didn t and dressed in accordance with the South Coast weather I left behind, which was warm, bright sunshin

By Chris Crees

HANDS up all those that expected a postponement because of an unfit playing surface, in the middle of September. I for one certainly didn't and dressed in accordance with the South Coast weather I left behind, which was warm, bright sunshine.

As I approached the capital, I realised this might be a serious error of judgment, but I adopted the attitude that it was only a passing shower and likely to clear up before our inevitable draw against Crystal Palace.

How wrong I was when I exited White City station, in what seemed like a monsoon. I was then told that the downpour had been continuous since 2pm, but even then, it never occurred to me that the match might be in danger of being washed out.

After what seemed like an eternity, walking from the station to the Springbok and dashing for numerous sheltering points along the way, I arrived looking like the creature from the black lagoon, with every piece of clothing entirely drenched. Even then, it never occurred to me that the match might be in danger. It is still summertime, isn't it?

At this point I decided to part with some hard earned cash in the club shop and invest in a hooded rain jacket, which the club had decided to discount along with umbrellas! Nice touch in my opinion.

Now protected by a rain jacket, I returned to the pub to learn that a pitch inspection was forthcoming. No problem I thought, just the referee performing his duty. Twenty minutes later came the news that the game was off. I was genuinely shocked and trudged off home.

But I was quite surprised at the flak being dished out to the club on the message boards, questioning whether it's acceptable that our pitch is unplayable, when a game went ahead a few miles down the road at Chelsea.

Firstly, I suspect that Chelsea have invested far more in pitches and drainage than QPR, and quite rightly so. I wouldn't mind betting that UEFA has a big input in protecting playing surfaces, as we can't have European games postponed at short notice because of five hours of rain.

Of course this is no consolation to the fans that forked out, took time off work in the process, and for some, travelled great distance. But it could have been worse. Imagine had it been Plymouth or Newcastle in attendance!

I read that this was QPR's first ever home postponement in September because of playing conditions so, while frustrating and costly, this was just an unfortunate one-off for me.

Prior to the introduction of the infamous Omniturf, my decision whether to travel at all would have been easy. The game would have been called off by 4pm!


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