Leigh Leopards and Huddersfield Giants will make history this weekend by resuming the Betfred Super League fixture that was left unfinished on Friday night because of a floodlight failure at the Leigh Sports Village.
The RFL Board, exercising its discretion under Operational Rule B1:29, considered submissions from both clubs, and the executives of the RFL and Rugby League Commercial, and has ordered that the match should be resumed at 3pm tomorrow (Sunday afternoon, September 3) from exactly the position at which it was interrupted.
That leaves 32 minutes to be played, with Leigh Leopards leading 16-12.
This unanimous decision, which is probably unprecedented in Rugby League, although it does follow examples from other sports, was taken with a number of factors in mind, including fairness to both teams as well as the welfare of both sets of players, given the lack of time remaining in the season for a rearranged fixture and the ability of spectators to watch the match, especially those who had bought tickets for Friday night, and logistical issues at the Leigh Sports Village.
The latter two factors were especially important in determining a Sunday resumption rather than a midweek date.
In addition, the Board noted that both clubs play their next fixtures next Friday (September 8), and the importance of competition integrity for all clubs in the Betfred Super League.
There are no specific criteria in the Operational Rules regarding the time elapsed in a match before a result should stand, or at what point it should be replayed. Such matters are left entirely to the discretion of the RFL’s independent Board.
The clubs will make further announcements regarding ticketing arrangements for the resumption of the match.
In addition to the scoreline, the match will resume exactly as it was left on Friday night – in terms of the numbers of interchanges remaining, and with the same team of match officials.
“Obviously it’s going to add a little bit of workload to both clubs, which isn’t probably ideal but it is what it is,” said Giants coach Ian Watson.
Match reports and photography from every game will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express.
League Express is widely available from local newsagents across the north of England.