Yates' view: Freezing weather was usual cause of fixture pile-ups

Heaven forbid if the St Helens-Castleford Tigers Betfred Challenge Cup at Wembley next month falls victim of the dreaded Covid-19 epidemic which seems on the rise again.

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 12:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 12:08 pm
The big freeze in the 1960s
The big freeze in the 1960s

The dress rehearsal between the two finalists, which was due to be played tomorrow night (Wednesday), was postponed last night (Tuesday) due to the West Yorkshire club's inability to raise a full team - and champions St Helens awarded the two points without breaking into a sweat.

It may turn the remainder of the season into nothing more than a lottery but it brought back memories of the problems caused by the Big Freeze, as it was dubbed, in the winter of 1962-1963.

Saints didn't play a single game between late December and early March, but they eventually coped with the backlog of fixtures and I hope it will be a similar story this time in vastly different circumstances.

Of course, the current problems are far more serious than just having games postponed and waiting for the weather to improve, but unfortunately the major snowfall started on Boxing Day 1962 and continued daily until December 29.

By New Year's Day almost the whole country was under at least six inches of snow, with nightly temperatures well below zero. The cold in January was unrelenting, with bitter winds adding to the misery.

For 10 weeks the UK remained in the grip of freezing conditions, with the occasional brief respite not enough to make any significant difference.