Hornets argue against points loss for postponed fixture

Rochdale Hornets have issued a press statement in which they reject calls, from York City Knights, to be awarded two points for the Hornet’s late postponement of their fixture at the Crown Oil Arena on Sunday, due to high winds making it unsafe for ground staff to erect the posts for the match.

“The club wishes to address rumours and hearsay that has appeared on social media overnight and throughout Monday,” said the club statement.

“The game was cancelled due to legitimate safety concerns at the Crown Oil Arena, raised by stadium ground staff. High winds meant it was dangerous to remove the protective dome, and erect the rugby posts.

“An unsuccessful attempt was made to erect the posts at the Sandy Lane end of the ground, and as time moved on a decision was made by the head groundsman, in conjunction with the ground safety officer, that the game would need to be cancelled.

“Rochdale Hornets are reliant on the expertise of qualified safety professionals to make these safety assessments, and are supportive of the decision made.

“It is important to recognise that players and officials from both Rochdale and the York club wanted the game to go ahead. Both sets of players were already changed into their kit, ready to warm-up, and everyone shares in the frustration of not being able to play Sunday’s game.

“As a club, we extend our sincere apologies to all supporters who arrived to support their teams, in particular the large number of York City Knights fans, for their having to miss what should have been an afternoon of quality rugby league,

“Although the club were not made aware of the safety concerns until early afternoon, we apologise unreservedly to all supporters, particularly those who travelled significant distances, for a lack of communication and our inability to convey the potential risk to the game.

“The club has already submitted reports to the RFL operational department (Monday, March 11) and will continue to assist them with their investigation into the circumstances surrounding Sunday’s cancellation.

“We do, however, strongly disagree that the match points should be awarded to York City Knights.

“Rochdale Hornets believe the correct course of action would be to rearrange the game. Two points should always be won or lost over the course of eighty minutes, and we believe there is sufficient time remaining in the season to work together, and still play the game that supporters were excitedly expecting to be a part of.

“Finally, Rochdale Hornets will continue to work closely with the stadium management company to ensure that we never have a repeat of Sunday’s proble. Positive discussions have already begun.

“As a club we have had a disastrous start to the season, with two home matches already cancelled through no fault of our own. We need to come together as a community, now more than ever, to ensure this doesn’t have a severe impact on the club moving forward.

“Our coaches, players and staff have started the campaign well and they deserve your support. We remain fully committed to competing in the Betfred Championship.”