Coast league team beaten by travel hiccups

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 02/09/2013

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West Coast Rugby League is close to $6000 out of pocket and has had to forgo two South Island provincial rugby league competition points after a frustrating attempt to get to Invercargill was abandoned late on Saturday.

West Coast were to take on the Southland Rams in a South Island provincial competition game at the Les George Oval yesterday but the game had to be abandoned because West Coast couldn't get to Invercargill.

They had hired mini-vans to make the trip from Greymouth to Christchurch, where they were to catch a flight to Invercargill at lunchtime on Saturday.

However, a fatal crash on Arthur's Pass diverted their trip to Lewis Pass. One of their mini-vans then broke down, delaying the journey to Christchurch.

By the time they got there they had missed their plane and did not have the money for another flight.

When it become obvious flying wasn't going to be an option they considered travelling through the night by road to Invercargill but decided it was too big an ask.

To make matters worse, the team lost close to $6000 they had already paid for accommodation and flights.

NZRL Southern Zone general manager Steve Martin said it was an unfortunate situation and the competition's limited funds meant there was little room to move when hiccups occurred.

"They are very disappointed because they are a very proud lot and the Coast always fronts. But the reality is that it's a unique set of circumstances . . . and then there's the money side of it. It would have cost another six-odd grand to get them on another flight," he said.

Because there was still the opportunity for the West Coast team to travel by road through the night to Invercargill and they decided against that, the game was deemed a default and Southland were awarded the competition points.

Southland District Rugby League chairwoman Cheryl Low said while it was nice to have the two competition points banked it was disappointing that yesterday's game did not go ahead.

It was Southland's only scheduled home game and, given the fine weather, they were expecting a good turnout of spectators.

Southland have another week off in the South Island competition as they have the bye this weekend, but coach Greg Dawson is looking to arrange a game against an invitation team to give his team some much-needed match practice.

Their next official assignment is against the Canterbury Development team on September 14 in Christchurch. Canterbury Development look the team to beat after they knocked over Otago 44-6 in Timaru on Saturday.

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Meanwhile, the Canterbury Bulls went down 44-20 to the Counties-Manukau Stingrays in the Pirtek National Premiership on Saturday.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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