A WHOLE Oxford & District League season could be wiped out for the first time since the Second World War due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Organisers have said a nine-week campaign – half the usual length – must start by July 15.

Anything later than that would push the fixtures into mid-September and risk being disrupted by bad weather.

If that deadline is missed, cup competitions could be played if conditions allowed play to resume in August.

The main issue is when pubs, which stage the matches, will be allowed to reopen.

Although there are tentative plans to get them up and running in early July, it is reliant on conditions continuing to improve.

And even then, restrictions over social distancing could make playing Aunt Sally in some host pubs impossible.

Andy Beal, the league’s fixtures secretary, said: “You are talking about having 20 people in a pub garden.

“There are lots of places where you couldn’t have social distancing with that many.

“Some players might not feel safe going to the pubs.

“If five or six teams said they didn’t want to take part we would have to reorganise the sections, which would make things difficult.

“The competitions could be held over five or six weeks and there could be some sort of finals night.

“We’re doing everything we can to play some sort of Aunt Sally this year, that’s why we are leaving it as long as we can.”

Another complication will be whether all the venues survive the lockdown and be able to reopen, raising the possibility of some teams suddenly becoming homeless.

Campaigns in the past have been heavily disrupted by weather, but those fixtures have always been rearranged at some point.

This situation has not been seen for 75 years.

Beal said: “I have records going back to 1936 and the only time the season has stopped was for the Second World War.

“It’s been played ever since.”

And the big shame has been the conditions over the last few weeks.

“It’s just typical, every Wednesday night since we were due to start the season has been perfect,” Beal said.