AND SO the nightmare season continues. After three months of incessant rain we then get Siberian temperatures and half a foot of snow (so much for global warming). Many local leagues are in a state of near crisis with in some cases a deficit of over 100 games to make up.

This is particularly frustrating for players, many of whom have rediscovered the delights of Dorothy Perkins, Argos and the Debenhams perfume counter. The post-match pint with yer mates has been replaced by tea and a scone with the missus. Arguing whether Rio Ferdinand was worth it has been replaced by heating discussions over the relative values of Savoy cabbage and curly kale.

It's even more serious for some refs however. Our season runs from March to February and for those on the promotion ladder it is crucial to have officiated in a minimum of 10 games. Constant waterlogging has left many colleagues short of this number with only six weeks to go. Worse still, the fact that Nationwide games now require four League officials has meant that some refs are being taken off local games to stand between dugouts and wage peace like a uniformed Henry Kissinger.

The onus in the next few weeks will be on league appointment secretaries to ensure that their guys get the requisite number of games in. It may be necessary to change officials from those already published. It may necessitate some refs having to travel extra distances or take time off work in the case of midweek games. Only when this happens can the merit lists be established and the promotions confirmed for next season.

So its fingers crossed for 60 odd degrees of balmy sunshine, no Achilles strains and ten out of ten from every secretary.