STEETON boss Roy Mason believes the North West Counties League and chairman Paul Lawler have done a good job throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

But he expressed some doubts over their radical plans going forward, with the North West Counties League currently suspended.

Lawler has suggested that the season could be postponed from now until August, with teams picking up from where they left off, rather than starting afresh.

Mason said: "I am quite happy with Paul and the North West Counties as a whole, as they've been really realistic throughout the whole pandemic.

"A lot of leagues have seemed hell-bent on rushing things, but Paul has stayed pragmatic, which was important given a lot of teams in our league play in the (badly affected) North West.

"I felt there was hesitancy to even start back in October, as the league could envisage there being so few games up until now."

As for an August resumption, Mason said: "In some ways, I'm happy to carry on from where we are now, seven games in.

"But there's only 19 teams in our league after Shelley pulled out, and in the First Division South, you have the Isle of Man, who haven't even been able to play yet due to the pandemic.

"What happens as well if Ilkley Town, who were denied promotion last year, and have started well this season, finish their West Yorkshire League campaign in April or May, but can't go up because we're still doing this season in August?

"The FA seem hell-bent on pushing through a non-league restructure for 2021/22, so that's something to consider too."

None of the other options for finishing this season appear great either.

Mason said: "Some teams have only had three or four games so far, yet I've seen people saying we have enough midweeks left to squeeze the season in.

"It's not doable as games will be off because of the weather, and either way, you're going to end up having three or four games a week, which is asking a lot of the players, as well as clubs and volunteers who have to stage games.

"People are also saying we could do points per game, or just play each other once, but we've had to have six of our seven league games so far away from home because of Marley not being ready.

"Also, in terms of integrity, you start the league season with the intention of playing 38 games, not 18 or 19. This isn't just Sunday league football."

Mason did at least welcome Lawler's suggestion of possible local tournaments, in front of fans, in the spring to raise some much-needed revenue.

Steeton did get some revenue in on December 28, as they finally hosted their first competitive game at Marley, a superb 3-0 win over Nelson just before the league season was stopped.

Mason said: "Even then we were disappointed to only have 150 fans in. We could have had far more in normal circumstances, maybe a record for the league.

"We lost money that way, and also because of no bar takings either.

"It was a good 3-0 win though. I thought we were a bit hesitant in the first half, playing the occasion and not the game.

"But we relaxed in the second half, played the football we knew we could, used our skill and pace, and ran out worthy winners.

"I think our oldest player in the game was (striker) Ben Wignall at 26, so it's a talented young squad we've got here."