Football and racing feel blast of winter

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The Independent Football

Freezing temperatures across the country have played havoc with the New Year's Day fixture list.

Freezing temperatures across the country have played havoc with the New Year's Day fixture list.

Several football matches have been postponed over 24 hours before kick-off because of frozen pitches, with Wolves' trip to Crewe and Sheffield Wednesday's visit to Preston the highest-profile casualties. Wolves have been denied the chance to top the First Division table at the beginning of the new year due to the Gresty Road pitch being unplayable, while Preston's Deepdale pitch failed an inspection yesterday afternoon.

In the Second Division, Brighton will have an unscheduled rest after their home game with Northampton fell victim to the cold spell. Cardiff's trip to their promotion rivals Brentford and Bournemouth's home game against Cambridge are the other postponements in that division while Tranmere's trip to Oldham depends on a pitch inspection today. Chesterfield, who lost their manager, Nicky Law, to First Division Bradford yesterday, suffered another blow with their trip to Peterborough being called off.

Five matches in the Third Division have been frozen off, with the weather putting paid to the meeting between two promotion challengers, Swansea and Plymouth, at the Vetch Field. Hartlepool's trip to Hull is off, as is Shrewsbury's home game with Bristol Rovers. The basement battle between Halifax and York at The Shay is postponed as are matches between Mansfield and Kidderminster, Rochdale and Carlisle and Scunthorpe and Macclesfield. Lincoln's trip to Darlington has also fallen victim.

Football is not the only sport affected. Both planned rugby league friendlies – Wakefield against Halifax and Warrington v St Helens – have fallen foul of the cold. In the Northern Ford Premiership, Gateshead v Whitehaven will not go ahead while yesterday's Workington v Barrow game could not be played.

In racing, all of yesterday's five meetings were abandoned, while today's meetings at Cheltenham, Exeter, Catterick, Leicester and Plumpton are all off because of frozen ground, and only the all-weather meeting at Southwell is set to go ahead.