League verdict stuns Triangle

Roger Smith
Roger Smith
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Skipper Roger Smith said Triangle were “seething” at the decision of league chiefs to award Bradshaw the points and fine his club in the wake of a cancelled fixture eight days ago.

The sides were due to meet in a crucial game near the foot of the Premier Division in the Foster’s Halifax League and Triangle had less than the required seven players at Bradshaw for the 1.30 start time.

The game was called off due to a waterlogged pitch on a day when only 28 overs of play took place in the entire league - at SBCI, where Queensbury were the visitors.

Last Monday the league’s executive decided to award the match points 12-0 in Bradshaw’s favour and have fined Triangle £114.

It was Bradshaw’s first maximum points ‘win’ of the season and moves them out of the bottom two while damaging the survival prospects of Triangle, Blackley and Sowerby St Peters.

Veteran captain Smith said: “I was in contact with my players and told them not to rush because there was no chance of us playing at one of wettest grounds in league

“I knew vaguely about the seven player rule but I have never known it used.

“There are a few ex-Triangle players at Bradshaw and they are embarrassed at the situation because they didn’t want a 12-0.”

Smith claims the match report sheet, on which the executive has acted, was altered after he had signed it.

He said there was no mention of Triangle having fewer than seven players and that the arrival of a league official had triggered the action.

“The league has followed the rule to the letter of the law,” he said.

“I’ve never known this happen before and I’ve been playing 40 years. Somebody said Mytholmroyd had only three players there (at home to Warley) on Saturday.”

Bradshaw skipper Aaron Buckley was adamant that the match report sheet did say Triangle had less than seven players at start time when Smith put pen to paper.

He said it also had two points each in the points-per-side column.

He added: “We didn’t claim the points.”

With regard to the league’s decision and the relegation battle he said: “It does make a difference. It is poor on Sowerby and Blackley and puts them in a worse position.

“It would perhaps have been better if we had got two points like everyone else and maybe Triangle deducted points, but rules are rules.”

Halifax League secretary Neil Myers said officials had stuck to the rule book.

“The game was not cancelled, therefore we moved to the rule which states that all games commence at 1.30.

“At 1.30 Triangle did not have the minimum seven players there so Bradshaw are entitled to claim the points.”

Myers admitted that officials were bracing themselves for a backlash from other clubs hit by their decision.

“We are aware that being awarded the points is a massive help to Bradshaw, at the expense of Blackley and Sowerby SP, and that it will contribute to Triangle’s slide from mid-table towards the bottom.

“We have looked at the rules and followed them - everyone knows you have to turn up on time whatever the weather. No matter what we did, someone would have a go at us.”

The £114 fine comprises £35 to Bradshaw, £25 to the league and £54 pay for the umpires.