The Herts Charity Cup final between Hemel Hempstead Town and Hitchin Town due to be played at Berkhamsted FC tomorrow has been called off. This is due to the fact that Hemel have withdrawn from the game for safety reasons.

I received an email from Dean Chance the Hemel Hempstead Town secretary this morning that had also been sent to the Herts FA. In it Dean said that Hemel had played a friendly at Berkhamsted yesterday and ended up with two players with ankle injuries where they went over on the pitch. The pitch was rock hard and also bumpy and Hemel felt they could not afford to lose players to injury this close to the start of the season. They asked the Herts FA if the game could be played elsewhere. Mark Burke and Dean Brennan, the Hemel manager, had spoken and were happy for the game to be played at Hitchin. Our ground staff agreed they could get the pitch ready. Mark was obviously very concerned about the conditions at Berkhamsted after hearing from Dean.

I actually spoke to two Herts FA officials to confirm our ground was available but unfortunately their decision was that they could not change the venue from Berkhamsted for logistical and cost reasons. This decision led Hemel to withdraw from the competition because of player safety concerns. Hemel wanted to emphasise that there is no criticism of Berkhamsted intended and the hot dry weather is to blame.

UPDATE – Unfortunately, the scheduled “friendly” v Hemel Heempstead Town at Top Field tonight has also had to be cancelled.

Roy Izzard