Snow causes havoc for university sport

– Jack Teague contributed with this report

Last December was the nation’s coldest for over a century, causing havoc up and down the country. Transport was heavily affected with grounded planes, cancelled trains and dangerous roads. Lincolnshire in particular was hit hard by snow, which soon turned to ice following constant freezing conditions.

This, unsurprisingly, had a huge affect on university sport with frozen pitches and hazardous travelling conditions causing many games to be postponed and training sessions to be cancelled.

The Lincoln Colonials are one university team struggling to find time to play their postponed matches. Photo: Calum Fuller

The sports centre was also heavily affected by the large amounts of snowfall during the opening week of December. Its Astroturf pitches froze over, leaving a thick layer of ice covering the surface.

This caused disruption for hockey and American football training sessions, as well as many more that use the pitches, forcing teams to find other ways to train.

The University of Lincoln’s American football team, the Colonials, particularly struggled with the harsh conditions before Christmas.

Vice-president Ben Branch says the impact of the snow will cause the team to undergo a busy schedule over the next few months in order to squeeze in matches.

“The weather seriously impacted upon the match schedule with four matches being postponed due to the weather and leaving us having played only one fixture before the Christmas break rather than five,” Branch said.

“Training was also severely disrupted with almost all Tuesday training sessions being cancelled due a frozen Astroturf at the sports centre.”

However, the team managed to complete one outdoor session despite the frozen ground.

“Only one Sunday training session went ahead which was greatly enjoyed in the snow.”

Branch also admitted that numbers at altered training sessions dropped, with players unwilling to train in harsh conditions.

He said: “The postponed games are due to be rescheduled. However, with a limited amount of time to play them, the league are trying to squeeze matches in for all teams in the league.

“The team has been told we are playing a triple header match against York and Hull, and games are being stacked up for every weekend, so the schedule is starting to get very busy.”

The Colonials only managed to play one game before Christmas – a 25-7 loss at home to the Nottingham Outlaws – and will now face matches in Hull and Worcester in quick succession.

Meanwhile, the university rugby union team felt the effects of the snow, with the forced cancellations costing them a large sum of money.

Louis Mann, the president of the rugby union team said: “The snow affected us pretty bad. We had three training sessions called off and two matches cancelled, costing us around £500 in cancellation fees.”

However Mann said that the fixture backlog, while tough, was manageable: “It wasn’t too much of a problem. In fairness to the SU, Tracy Revill (sports and societies coordinator) and Jess Moxon (department administrator) have been incredibly helpful in confirming dates with the other universities.”

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