With the EFL in shutdown, non-league and Rugby League soldiers on.
Legendary Italian coach Arrigo Sacchi once described football as “the most important of the unimportant things”, and it appears the English authorities agree.
Friday saw the suspension of all Premier League, EFL, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship games until at least April 3rd because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Nobody quite knows yet how or even if this season’s leagues are going to be resolved, with a UEFA meeting early next week to discuss the potential year-long postponement of Euro 2020, which is currently the biggest barrier to completing the domestic season in the summer all being well.
📝 #htafc's next three @SkyBetChamp fixtures have been postponed.— Huddersfield Town (@htafc) March 13, 2020
In light of the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) news and spread in the UK, the @EFL has decided to postpone all English Football League games until Friday 3 April 2020.https://t.co/IoqpaGNgdS
For the time being Huddersfield Town have three matches postponed – Saturday’s home match against Wigan and the away trips to Forest and Birmingham. They’re left in a precarious position three points clear of the relegation zone and can only sit and wait.
Bradford City meanwhile have four delays.
Saturday’s game with Orient was called off on Friday less than 24 hours after assurances from the club that it would be going ahead as planned. Their other postponed fixtures include trips to Port Vale and Exeter as well as a home clash with Macclesfield.
On Saturday the Bantams announced they’d suspended first team training after a staff member was sent home to go into isolation.
The first team squad will now isolate themselves for nine days even if they’re showing no symptoms. The club say they’ve each been given a GPS unit, “enabling them to monitor their fitness levels in relation to a tailored training programme.”
Things weren’t much better for those sides that did play this weekend.
Halifax Town had the curious accolade of playing the only televised football match in England all weekend when they faced Ebbsfleet yesterday – surely the first time such a thing has happened in decades. The promotion-chasing Shaymen we’re beaten 1-0 at home by Ebbsfleet, who’ll be lucky to stay up even with the three points.
Halifax fans arriving for the match against Ebbsfleet.
It’s the latest sign of Halifax’s inconsistency and their fourth defeat in the last five matches in all competitions.
The Shaymen are still comfortably in the playoff places, but with nine games to go in this kind of form, there’s plenty of time to drop out.
The National League North was also in action, and after two of only five wins all season coming in the past week for Bradford Park Avenue, they were beaten again.
Their 2-0 home defeat to Curzon Ashton leaves them 12 points from safety. Despite promising recent signs, that looks like a long, long way back.
Rugby League remains steadfastly unaffected by coronavirus cancellations and this week saw our local sides in Challenge Cup action.
Huddersfield Giants, despite their good league form, suffered an 18-0 shutout on Wednesday at the John Smith’s to Toronto Wolfpack. The Canadian side have played six, lost six in their debut Super League season so far.
Bradford Bulls suffered a much closer defeat, 17-14 away at Wakefield Trinity. Bulls were going into the next round with 10 minutes remaining when the home side went over for the winning points.
Alex Walker scores for Wakefield on Friday night.
We’ll be back next Sunday to round up all the sport that did or didn’t happen.