GATESHEAD Thunder play the penultimate game of another torturous season tonight when Workington Town are their visitors.
The rescheduled match was washed out last month when flash floods turned the International Stadium pitch from perfectly playable to completely under-water in a matter of minutes.
Head coach Kevin Neighbour said: “In all my years in the game I had never seen anything like it.
“I have seen plenty of matches called off for any number of reasons, but for such a short burst of rain so close to kick-off to have such an effect was probably a once in a lifetime.”
The upshot of their postponement has been a congested end to the season for Gateshead, although home games against Workington and Oldham within the space of four days does at least give them ample opportunity to end an awful run of results.
Rock bottom of Co-operative Championship One without a league win since March 2010, 64 games against non-amateur opposition have now come and gone without a victory.
The fact that there is no relegation from the sport’s third tier remains Gateshead’s saving grace, and next year’s competition will at least offer the prospect of some new expansion opposition. Hemel Stags and University of Gloucestershire All Golds have already been confirmed as newly-formed sides to enter the competition, with two more set to follow.
Northampton Rebels were due to be one of those, but the fledgling outfit this week pulled out of the race after chairman David Cardoza admitted they were unlikely to be competitive.
Rugby Football League chief operating Officer Ralph Rimmer said: “It had become increasingly clear in recent weeks that Northampton were not where they needed or wanted to be.
“It was never going to be an easy process for a new club to gear up to meet the challenges of a semi-professional competition and we have always had contingencies in place.”