Cold weather forces further disruption to sporting fixtures

Three more English Football League clashes fell victim to the cold weather on Saturday morning.

Children enjoy the snow outside Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium before the Sky Bet Championship match between Middlesbrough and Leeds.

Sky Bet Championship sides Aston Villa and Wolves and League Two Coventry announced their games would not go ahead as the cold snap continues to bite.

Villa took the decision to postpone their game against QPR “in the interest of public safety” at 8.40am on Saturday after carrying out an early inspection following heavy snowfall.

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Leaders Wolves then called off their 5.30pm clash against Reading on safety grounds before Coventry’s match with Lincoln was postponed just before 10am.

The Championship encounter between Ipswich and Hull, Barnsley’s home game against Norwich and Cardiff’s trip to Brentford were called off on Friday, adding to the postponement of Sheffield United v Burton a day earlier.

A statement on Villa’s official website said: “Aston Villa can confirm today’s game with Queens Park Rangers has been postponed in the interest of public safety due to the extreme weather conditions.

“Despite the club’s best efforts, facilities at the stadium have unfortunately been affected by last night’s heavy snowfall.”

The game will now take place on March 13.

Wolves managing director Laurie Dalrymple told the club’s website: “Whilst challenging weather conditions up and down the country had already forced a number of EFL fixtures to be postponed we were determined to get this fixture on, and a number of dedicated individuals gave up their time and effort yesterday to help make that a possibility.

“However, the safety of both home and away supporters and the numerous match day staff has to take precedence, and after the dreadful and dangerous weather failed to cease, we have been left with no choice but to postpone this fixture.”

Eighteen matches across League One and League Two have also been postponed.

All seven Premier League clubs hosting matches on Saturday were hopeful of their fixtures going ahead.

In League One, only three fixtures remained for Saturday, with AFC Wimbledon v Charlton, Blackpool v Northampton, Bradford v Portsmouth, Doncaster v Bury, Gillingham v Rotherham, Oxford v Fleetwood, Rochdale v Plymouth and Shrewsbury v Peterborough postponed.

There were just two games going ahead in League Two, following the postponements of Barnet v Port Vale, Cheltenham v Notts County, Crawley v Wycombe, Crewe v Forest Green, Exeter v Chesterfield, Morecambe v Colchester, Newport v Accrington, Stevenage v Mansfield, Swindon v Yeovil and Coventry’s encounter with Lincoln.

There is only one game not to have fallen foul of the weather in the Vanarama National League, Dover’s home clash with Leyton Orient.

While all four Scottish Cup quarter-finals are still set to take place, the complete Scottish Professional Football League programme is off including Premiership matches at St Johnstone and Ross County.

Friday night’s Aviva Premiership match between Harlequins and Bath was moved to Sunday, as was Exeter v Saracens - which had been scheduled for Saturday.

Race meetings at Newcastle, Lingfield and Chelmsford all passed morning inspections.