WYCOMBE Wanderers have slammed reports in the national media that Wasps' game against Sale was called off on Sunday because they forgot to turn the heating on.

The match was postponed five minutes before kick-off because of a frozen pitch, despite it being the hottest weekend of the year, leaving almost 7,000 fans frustrated.

Groundstaff from SportsTurf, the company Wanderers employ to manage the pitch, were at Adams Park all weekend and SportsTurf managing director Steven Moore says they could not have done anything to save the game.

He said: "The heating system at Adams Park is used worldwide, but it takes up to 26 hours to get the pitch to optimum temperature. So unless you had a crystal ball it wouldn't cope with that sort of cold snap."

The undersoil system comprises 21 miles of pipes and comes on automatically once the pitch or air temperatures drops below a certain temperature.

It can also be turned on manually, either days before a match if forecasts are bad or to clear snow in hours'.

Moore said: "We'd be accused of global warming if we turned the heating on every time there was a slight chance of this happening.

"And if we had turned the heating on for Sunday's game, it would've just turned itself off because it was too warm."

The system is set to switch on when the air temperature falls below four degrees Centigrade or the pitch temperature drops below 2-4 degrees. When the game was called off on Sunday, the air temperature was 5.5 degrees and the pitch was 2.4 degrees.

Wanderers secretary Keith Allen said: "At 3.30pm the temperature was 14. As soon as the sun disappeared the temperature dropped dramatically and within an hour the pitch temperature had dropped from the mid-teens to freezing.

"At that point it would have been too late to turn the heating on. We did not forget to turn it on, and the cost is totally irrelevant. The important thing is to ensure every game goes ahead but no-one could have predicted that cold snap."

This is the first game called off because of a frozen pitch since the heating system was installed five summers ago.

SportsTurf have been advising Wanderers for 15 years and have been their full ground contractors for five years.

Allen said: "Our ground contractors are very careful. They employ a groundsman who is at Adams Park full-time. He was there all day Saturday and all day Sunday and if there was any doubt they'd have put the heating on."

Wasps have been asked to submit a report on the postponement to the Premier League, but chief executive Tony Copsey said: "Having reviewed events with our colleagues at Wycombe Wanderers, we are happy that there was nothing that the staff at Wasps or Wycombe Wanderers could have done to prevent such an unforeseen turn of events.

"It is obviously very unfortunate that the game was called off at such short notice, but in such a situation the safety of the players has to be paramount."

Wasps are offering fans a full refund or the chance to trade their tickets for the rearranged game, date still to be confirmed.

Meanwhile the Premier League have asked Wasps for a report on Sunday's cancellation.

A Premier League spokesman said: "We are satisfied about the referee's decision but we are asking for the circumstances of the postponement."

l Wanderers have told fans the heating system is on now so tomorrow's match with Rotherham is not in doubt.