Weather continues to bite into the weekend’s sporting programme

The Sky Bet League Two match between Harrogate and Northampton has been postponed due to a frozen pitch.

The widespread freezing temperatures saw a number of Football League games called off on Friday and the Cobblers’ visit to North Yorkshire has also gone.

The pitch at the EnviroVent Stadium did not pass an inspection on Saturday morning.

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A statement on Harrogate’s website read: “Today’s fixture against Northampton has been postponed due to a frozen pitch, following a pitch inspection on Saturday morning.

“A new date for the match will be announced in due course.”

It was soon followed by the League One match between Oxford and Barnsley, which failed a pitch inspection at the Kassam Stadium.

League One games between Accrington and Portsmouth and Morecambe and Charlton were called off on Friday, while matches at Carlisle, Crewe, Rochdale and Salford in League Two were also postponed. Sunday’s fourth-tier clash between Gillingham and Bradford fell victim to another frozen pitch and several more could be under threat this weekend, with more pitch inspections planned.

National Hunt racing was given an unexpected day off on Saturday with Cheltenham, Doncaster and Hereford all abandoned due to frozen tracks, with the all-weather action at Newcastle later called off and Punchestown’s feature John Durkan Memorial Chase meeting on Sunday also falling victim to the cold snap.

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Frost sheets were deployed at Cheltenham after racing on Friday, but as the mercury began to drop it became a race against time.

It took clerk of the course Jon Pullin and his team around three hours to cover the whole of the New Course, which is used for the two-day International meeting, but in the end their efforts were in vain.

Doncaster were due to inspect at 9.30am for their meeting but just after 7.30am the decision had already been taken.

Unfortunately groundstaff were unable to get the covers down in time following repairs to the track after racing on Friday and temperatures reached -5C overnight.