RFL Verdict awaited

Date published: Monday, March 3, 2014
OLDHAM expect the RFL to award them three league points from their abandoned game in South Wales.
They led 18-4 with eight minutes left when referee Adam Gill pulled the players off in appalling conditions caused by incessant freezing rain, a pitch that held water and bitterly-cold winds.
Oldham winger Dale Bloomfield and Scorpions’ skipper Phil Carleton had already been taken to the warmth of the dressing rooms suffering from hypothermia-type symptoms.
Other players on both teams complained of similar symptoms as the icy blast battered the Maesteg ground, situated on a hilltop at the head of the Llynfi Valley.  
Match commissioner Alan Smith and both clubs supported the referee’s decision.
Said Smith: “The pitch didn’t look good from the stands, but at ground level you could see it was even worse.
“As for the players, Oldham had already lost their winger with signs of hypothermia and the club’s physio kept telling me she was having problems with others when going on the field to treat them.”
Roughyeds’ boss Scott Naylor, who played most of his career when rugby league was a winter sport, said: “They were the worst conditions I’ve ever seen on a rugby field.
“The referee told me at half-time of his concerns for player-safety.
“Later on in the game it went progressively worse. Then it got completely out of hand.”
Club chairman Chris Hamilton said that in 17 years the new Oldham club had never previously had players suffering from hypothermia.
The club’s medical people had explained to him that, as modern-day rugby players were athletes, they carried little body fat which made them more susceptible to extreme cold.
He added: “Heavy rain was non-stop from about an hour before kick-off and throughout the game. The wind picked up in the second half and from then on it was difficult to get across to people who were not there just how severe it was.
“The ball was like a slab of soap and it was no game for the purist, but ultimately it was all about player safety.
“We were comfortably in front when the game was abandoned, so hopefully the RFL will make the right decision in terms of the result.
“I would like to give a big thank-you to the many fans who travelled a long way to support us and who stood out in the open to cheer us on.”
Chris Thair, chief operations officer for Wales Rugby League, confirmed that Scorpions supported the referee’s decision and were happy for the result to stand.