IN his more than a decade of involvement with Premier League Hockey, Chris Stafford had never seen a situation like he did on Saturday.
Stafford had been hoping to watch the Souths team he coaches in the women's competition finish season 2019 with an upset of the finals bound St Pat's in the last round of the regular season.
But overnight snow across the Central West saw Premier League officials call off the entire round. All matches were declared a draw.
"I think 11-12 years I've been involved in prem and living out this way and I've never heard anything like this," Stafford said.
"All local associations actually called their games off before prem did.
"Hockey New South Wales say you have to play under safe conditions and the associations have taken that, they don't feel it's necessarily safe for people to be driving - like CYMS were meant to play Panthers in Lithgow.
"So they've just, I guess, extended those Hockey New South Wales rules, which I guess is fair enough.
"We would have liked one more game, but it is what it is."
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After a 3-2 loss to Confederates in the penultimate round ended Souths' hopes of sneaking into the top four, Stafford had planned to use Saturday's derby to continue the development of some of the younger two blues.
"We've had some young kids that have really come through this year, so it would have been good to put them into that environment against Pat's just so that they've got one under their belt," he said.
"It could have helped take the nerves out of that next local derby, but you know, it isn't to be."
As for the season overall, Stafford still saw plenty of positives.
Souths handed minor premiers Orange CYMS one of just two defeats during the regular season and they did not lose to fierce local rivals Bathurst City - posting a 1-0 win and nil-all draw in their two meetings.
Stafford was also delighted with the way the younger members of the squad stepped up.
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"I am definitely proud of them, especially the younger ones. We all sort of knew what most of the players could do, but young Sam Brown, Charlize Fitpatrick in particular.
"She went from being in and around the squad and finally got a go through injury [to others], a full proper go, and she's probably been one of our stand out players the last couple of weeks.
"The older ones have had to change what they do obviously with new coaching, so we've made big gains this year I think. There are still a few little things letting us down, but the full pre-season will sort that out."
Saturday's cancelled derby means St Pat's finished the regular season in second and will now face Orange CYMS in Orange in the major semi-final.