APRIL Fool’s day came early for Wetherby Bulldogs last week.
With just 11 minutes of their Selby Cup clash at home to Northallerton Stallions to go, the game was cut short when the referee Mick Croft called a halt to the contest after an argument with a spectator.
Coach Andy Hunter could only look on aghast from the touchline with the scoreline evenly poised at 32-26.
Despite pleading with the official to change his mind, the game was abandoned much to the frustration of the Ings based stalwart.
“I’ve never seen anything like it, there’s never been a game abandoned like this at Wetherby as far as I know,” said Hunter.
“It was a very good game up to then.
“The ref’ got into an argument with a supporter who was behind one of the rugby posts.
“The spectator said there was a double movement, they had a discussion and then the ref’ said ‘Right that’s it, match abandoned’ and just walked off.”
A spokesperson for the Pennine League said as it was a district cup they couldn’t comment.
However on the league website the official reason for the decision was given as spectator abuse.
Northallerton team manager Dave Carter said it was a “mysterious” incident that he hadn’t seen on a rugby field before.
“I was out of ear shot so I didn’t hear what was said,” he said.
“It was something to do with a spectator saying something to the ref.
“The ref’ was behind the post waiting for a conversion.
“What was said I don’t know all I know something was said to the ref’ and he abandoned the game.”
Carter believes the result will stand in his North’s favour as they played enough minutes for it to be classed as a full game.
Bulldogs at present do not intend to pursue the matter any further.
Meanwhile Hunter will have to work overtime to get his side ready for tomorrow with a home game against Underbank in Pennine Division Seven (2.30pm ko).
Bulldogs opened the scoring against Stallions on Saturday, Micky Hall crossing for a try in the corner but Stallions replied with a touchdown by powerful second row Sakaria Ranica and a Scott Rothery conversion.
A second Hall try edged the Bulldogs 8-6 ahead but a Wetherby knock-on handed Stallions a try for Jimmy Tuisavivi, and they added to this with a try by Steve Naylor and Rothery conversion to lead 16-8.
Sam Hunter crossed the whitewash for Wetherby and Ellis Leach converted to take the sides in at half-time with Stallions just ahead at 16-14.
Bulldogs added to their haul with a try after the restart, but Tuisavivi scored his second try converted by Lee Worsnop to push Stallions back on top.
Matt Savage was next to score for Wetherby with Ellis adding the kick, but another Tuisavivi try plus one for Martin Chambers, one of which was converted meant Stallions were 32-26 in front when the referee blew his whistle with 12 minutes left on the clock.