A rugby team that referees refused to handle after abuse from players and fans picked its own ref to get around a ban yesterday.
Masterton club Pioneer, which plays in Wairarapa's senior club competition, called in a former player to referee yesterday's Tui Cup game against Martinborough, with club members as assistants.
Pioneer had been banned from playing at home this weekend after two referee abuse incidents last week against Carterton, one when a Pioneer player ran on the pitch to confront the referee after being red-carded, and another when a spectator was cited for abuse.
That led to Wairarapa referees boycotting Pioneer's Jean St ground over safety fears, with one, Goff Moorcock, quitting for the year because of sustained abuse at grounds in the region. On Monday the Wairarapa Bush Rugby Union shifted yesterday's game to a neutral venue, but that was overturned after Pioneer got lawyers involved.
The union refused to send referees, again citing safety fears, so Pioneer called up a former player, a move one referee described as an "up yours".
Union chief executive Phil Taylor said the union backed its refs. "They made it clear after incidents last week and the week before, that they didn't feel safe. We tried to move the game, but our lawyer told us we didn't do it properly." He said Pioneer had the right to appoint its own ref and the matter would be discussed tomorrow.
Pioneer president Dan Te Tau believed the club had been unfairly targeted.
- © Fairfax NZ News
How diligent are you when it comes to sorting roadside recycling?Related story: City recycling a juggling act for council