Kirkcaldy president Jimmy Bonner had a surprise phone call last Thursday evening from his West of Scotland counterpart Alan Sneddon intimating that his club would be calling off Saturday’s scheduled league match at Beveridge Park, citing lack of front row players.
Sneddon was clearly embarrased by the sitution that West found itself in. This reason is frequently quoted by teams in the lower reaches of the various regional leagues but is virtually unknown amongst clubs in the national set up.
Apparently a spate of injuries and player unavailability had mounted up and there was a simple lack of trained front rowers without which, for safety reasons, a game cannot proceed.
In the early years of league rugby West, with a host of international players, competed at the highest level of Scottish club rugby and still have some of the finest club facilities in the country.
However, with severe competition for players in the west of Scotland generally, their player recruitment has dwindled and not so long ago fell into the fourth tier.
Bonner sympathised with West’s plight, mentioning the decreasing numbers of front row players in the Scottish game.
“There are problems right, left and centre with front row players and this generally shows up in reserve team rugby, even some Premiership sides are having problems in this regard,” he said.
“It’s time the SRU devoted more of their energies dealing with this problem – all they seem to be interested in is pro team and international sides.”
The procedure now is that the SRU will ask West why they did not fulfil the fixture and if they are not satisfied with the response there will be a points deduction and the game will be played at a later date.
This new date is likely to be May 5.