ANOTHER wet weekend decimated the non-league programme, but Mother Nature is no match for John Fisher.

Virtually all of the Hellenic League schedule was washed out, yet the Highworth boss refused to entertain any notion of postponing his side’s appointment at Hellenic League leaders Marlow.

Fisher’s men ultimately succumbed to a battling 5-4 defeat, but the struggling Worthians emerged with plenty of credit and avoided the prospect of a return trip to Buckinghamshire on a cold Tuesday night in January.

Fisher said: “We didn’t think the game would be on and we kept calling during the drive up there.

“When we arrived the referee said the pitch was okay but asked if I wanted to see it.

I said ‘no - there’s no ****ing way we’re driving all the way back here on a Tuesday night, we’re here now so we’re playing.’ “The pitch wasn’t too bad to be fair and it didn’t play much of a part in the game.

“Marlow like to get it from front to back quickly but you have to wonder about a team hoping to win the league conceding four at home.

“Where they are very good, though, is up front.”

Michael Bartley proved that point with a brilliant first-half hat-trick as Marlow stormed ahead.

Following Bartley’s opener, Highworth hit back to lead through Brad Clarke’s brace, but the hosts’ hitman completed his treble to give a Marlow a 3-2 interval advantage.

Ben Gladwin made it 4-2 10 minutes into the second period, Darren Smart reduced arrears again, Ian Davies made it 5-3 before Ryan King gave the visitors an 80th-minute lifeline, which left the leaders clinging on at the end.

Even in defeat, the performance is sure to lift the spirits of a side still flirting with the bottom four in the Premier Division, particularly on the back of Boxing Day’s 10-1 mauling of Shrivenham.

Fisher added: “If you’d have said to me you’ll go to the top of the league and score four goals I’d have expected us to win but sloppy defending let us down again.

“I can’t fault the lads’ effort, and they’ve proved that they can compete with the best in this league but, at the end of the day, we’ve not taken any points from the game.

“The two games here and against Shrivenham have shown we’re moving in the right direction though.

“We have 10 home games left against a lot of the teams around us in the table and if we play like we did on Saturday we’ll win more than we lose.”

The only other games to go ahead in the Premier saw Ascot beat Cheltenham Saracens 3-0 and Flackwell win 3-2 against Holyport.

The entire Division One West fixture list was rained off.