Gateshead Storm withdraw from NCL

Gateshead Storm have withdrawn from the National Conference League.

The north-east outfit has pulled the plug on fixtures in League E – and Saturday’s fixture at Dewsbury Celtic was cancelled – after having been unable to travel to Eastmoor Dragons seven days earlier.

NCL administrator Alan Smith emailed club on Wednesday evening stating: “We regret to inform you that Gateshead Storm have decided tonight to withdraw from the NCL with immediate effect.

“They have recently lost their Head Coach, Rhys Clarke, as he is now playing at Workington, a number of players are not able to commit to playing due to extra work post-covid and others (are) not wanting to travel the distances required for away games, due to covid fears.”

He concluded: “Their aim is now to rebuild and come back stronger and I know all the NCL teams will wish them well in that.”

The Storm were, at the time of their withdrawal, sixth in League E (the NCL is, in the light of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, operating with seven regional leagues of seven teams each this season, with play-offs scheduled to determine the champions, while knockout competitions are anticipated for other teams).

Gateshead had won one of their four matches, beating Normanton Knights 30-28 at home in their last outing, on Saturday 12 June.

Storm had taken Shaw Cross Sharks close in their first fixture of the campaign, missing out 28-22 on their own patch on Saturday 22 May. That game, however, was followed by a 72-4 mauling at Dewsbury Moor Maroons, and a 48-10 flagellation at home to East Leeds.

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