WHITCHURCH Alport have been preparing for the new season with a 6-0 win over near rivals Wem Town.

An Alex Hughes hat-trick and further goals from Dan Skelton, Blake Robinson and Nicky Porter completed the Reds rout of their Shropshire neighbours, who were grateful to Whitchurch for stepping in at the 11th hour after original opponents Ellesmere Rangers pulled out of the fixture.

These preparations may be premature though, with a provisional start date of September 5 being pushed back by the NWCFL by at least a month.

At a league management committee meeting the start date of the forthcoming season was discussed at great length and there were two key factors which led to the decision.

The Football Association (FA) had stated that the season could not commence until paying spectators would be allowed admittance into grounds.

The friendly at Bowens Field – like all other pre-season matches – was played behind closed doors.

An additional concern for the NWCFL is the recent lockdown measures imposed on the Greater Manchester region.

With several clubs affected and legislation likely to be changed as a result of the Covid-19 situation, the league had insisted on a minimum of one month ‘playing time’ for fairness and the integrity of the competition.

Organiers are unable to draw up a fixture list and are understood to be making contingency plans on how the competition might operate should the start date be pushed back even further.

As it stands, October 3 is now the date that has been provisionally set for the 2020-21 season to kick off.

However Alport might yet see some competitive football action before then with the extra preliminary qualifying round of the FA Cup still set for Tuesday, September 1.

The draw will take place on Tuesday with ties to be contested behind closed doors.