Wet fields leave Rovers frustratedFOOTBALL

HILLVUE Rovers coach Daryl Smith has become an avid weather watcher in recent weeks but it’s not as a hobby.
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Smith’s Rovers side has endured an extended stint on the sidelines as the wet weather has wreaked havoc with its Northern Inland Premier League season.

They haven’t played for three weeks and their round 13 clash with North Companions also appears in doubt after 38mm of rain tumbled down in Tamworth

midweek.

“They’re talking about rain again on Friday and it’s like a quagmire now,” Smith said after inspecting the Marius St playing surface.

“Training has also been difficult. We’ve been forced to practise on the netball courts to resemble some form of training.

“Preparation-wise, not much has been done,” Smith said.

“We’ve also got two players under suspension and because we haven’t played they still can’t play.”

The clash is shaping up as the battle for the wooden spoon with Northies languishing at the bottom of the table, while the Rovers are sitting just one point clear of last with just one win to their credit.

That came against Northies 1-nil in the first round.

But despite their disappointing results, the Rovers season was showing promise before their enforced break.

“I was really happy with the last game against Gunnedah,” Smith said.

“They settled down and were starting to come together.”

“We were looking forward to the second round with things starting to come together.”

Smith has called in second graders Neville Fullwood and Anthony Moore for the match, and is expecting a tough mid-field

battle.

In other NIPL match-ups, North Armidale is at home to UNE/Ex-Services, Demon Knights and South Armidale meet at Wicklow, and Oxley Vale/Attunga travels to Armidale to tackle East Armidale.

North West’s four Federation Youth League sides are also hopeful of seeing some game time and bouncing back from a disappointing showing at Newcastle last Saturday.

North West is scheduled to host Manning on Sunday, with all four sides pushing for a win as the competition closes in on the semi-finals.

The Wayne May-coached U14s were the best performed North West side at Newcastle, going down 3-nil, but after finding some touch in the second half, May is confident they can turn it around.

“Hopefully we can start getting the cobwebs out and hopefully get back on track,” he said.

“We had good results against Manning last time we were over there so hopefully we can repeat that.”

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