Snow threatens to unravel weekend sport

Mainland Football has cancelled junior grade games and senior matches this week.

Operations manager Colin Grant said today he had been told the Christchurch City Council would be closing all its grounds this weekend after a week of heavy rain.

"Mid Canterbury, Waimak, private grounds and school grounds are in a similar dilemma,'' Grant said.

"Therefore all games for this weekend, except Mainland Premier League [men's] games will be postponed till a later date.''

A premier league tripleheader will be played on the ASB Football Park pitch at English Park on Saturday time.

Ferrymead Bays and Western will meet at 12pm in a top of the table clash, followed by Coastal Spirit and Cashmere Technical at 2pm and FC Twenty 11 v Nomads United at 4pm.

Meanwhile, Saturday's scheduled race meeting at Riccarton has been scrubbed and a Chatham Cup football replay in Nelson could also be in jeopardy if heavy snow swamps the South Island.

The Canterbury Jockey Club meeting yesterday declared the Riccarton meeting abandoned after officials responded to weather forecasts predicting snowfalls in Canterbury tomorrow and tomorrow.

Racing in the Mainland has been hit hard with the Riccarton meeting the fourth to be abandoned due to this week's wintry blast.

The Oamaru gallops scheduled for today were canned on Tuesday after heavy rainfall left parts of the track and its grounds under water.

Greyhound meetings at both Dunedin and Christchurch in the early stages of the week were also affected.

And it might not stop there.

Greyhound meetings are set down for Christchurch both today and tomorrow but the predicted weather downturn leaves both in jeopardy.

North Canterbury club Waimak United's third round Chatham Cup replay with Nelson College is now under threat from the expected big snow.

A date and time has at least now been set, with the two teams scheduled to square off at 2pm on Saturday in Nelson - venue to be confirmed - after last week's match was abandoned at halftime because of a dangerous pitch conditions at a sodden Trafalgar Park.

New Zealand Football (NZF) have been busy this week rescheduling the match and three others that were abandoned, but now the snow looks as though it will wreak further havoc.

Up to 80cm is expected in the alpine passes and in eastern Marlborough, meaning Waimak's bus might be blocked off from Nelson.

Air travel was considered but hiring a coach and booking a night's accommodation was about half the cost ($5000).

New Zealand Football and Mainland Football will foot some of the bill but it is likely Waimak and the club's sponsors will have to stump up most of the coin.

It's another blow for the second-tier Canterbury side, who were 2-0 up against Nelson College last Sunday when the match was abandoned. NZF could have awarded the tie to Waimak but decided it must be replayed.

If they cannot get to Nelson on Saturday, a NZF spokesman said the match would be replayed the following weekend and the fourth round match between the winner and Mainland Premier League side Cashmere Technical would be delayed a week.

Waimak coach David Lay said they were preparing to play on Saturday but said they would not travel if there was any chance the trip north would be dangerous.

"The forecast looks grim, I see they're predicting 80cm of snow so we'll just have to wait and see. It's not ideal, all this uncertainty, but what can you do?"

The Crusaders have not adjusted their travel plans ahead of tomorrow night's match against the Hurricanes in Levin.

Although the predicted wild weather could potentially affect outbound flights from Christchurch, the Crusaders still hope to fly to Palmerston North tomorrow before commuting south to play their "friendly" Super Rugby match in the Horowhenua-Kapiti town.

A Crusaders spokeswoman said the team's management would closely monitor the weather.

"Nothing has changed. At the moment they are still planning to play the game as arranged. They are just waiting to see what happens with the weather."

The Press