Player safety and welfare saw the clash between Narwan Eels and Glen Innes Magpies in Uralla called off on Sunday.
Narwan were scheduled to host the round two Group 19 fixture at the Uralla Sporting Complex but, prior to the first match commencing, concerns were raised over a synthetic cricket pitch with a concrete underlay in the middle of the playing field.
Upon inspection by match officials, Group administration as well as committee members from both clubs, the playing surface was deemed unsuitable and the league tag and A grade games were called off. Group 19 secretary Bronwyn Marks said the decision to scrap the game was made in consultation with all parties.
“Got to the grounds in Uralla, the Narwan president [Jay Roberts] said that we may have an issue with the cricket pitch in the middle of the field,” she said.
“The head referee [Craig Beard] went and had a look along with the other referee in attendance. The cricket pitch was covered with synthetic grass covering what felt like cement and was detached from the ground making it hard and unstable. After consulting with the referee the Narwan president and the Glen Innes vice-president [Sam Schiffman] we found that the ground was unsafe. So under guidelines of player welfare I called the games off.”
Glen Innes players had already made their way to Uralla before finding out the game would be forfeited by the host club.
“We got down there and no one knew anything about the cricket pitch until we got there, that was the biggest disappointment really,” A grade captain-coach Nick Say said.
SEE MORE: Group 19 results from round two
“It didn't have any sand on it, no coverage, so it was a bit of a player welfare thing really – that was the biggest concern. Everyone went down there and knew nothing about it and for that to happen, it was a bit sad really.
“It is disappointing but not much we can do about it.”
As it stands, Narwan have forfeited both the league tag and A grade points from the fixture with Glen Innes appointed the win.
While they take the two points, the Magpies were disappointed with not taking the field after showing promise in their round one match against the Boomerangs last Sunday.
“No one would take a win like that, you want to play. It is the worst thing to play last week, get sore after it because you haven't played for so long and want to get into a routine and then this happens so you have start again next week,” Say said.
Group 19 released a statement on Monday which said: “the board of directors will will review the situation in relation to the match and will advise an outcome as to the result and further use of such venue.”
Narwan president Jay Roberts said “at this time we are not going to comment on what happened [yesterday] until we follow some things up.”