New Earswick All Blacks ARLC are pulling the plug on their second team – with spokesman Paul Pallister blaming a lack of commitment from players.
All Blacks ‘A’ have had to concede one Pennine League division four game this term and rather than risk building up fines for more non-shows – and to save club chiefs the weekly hassle – the decision has been taken to run with only the one team.
Pallister explained: “Ringing round on a Friday to get a team out was a joke. Most people hate Mondays – I hated Fridays because of all that.
“Sometimes the first team would run with only 14 or 15 players so we could get 13 out for the ‘A’ team. It’s a lack of interest from some players.
“We worked hard to get a team out weekly but, with the commitment sometimes shown, you had to wonder if it was worth it. We had no option in the end.
“I can understand some lads had other commitments. If they’re not getting work during the week, they have to work at weekends, but it’s not just that.
“It’s a shame for the lads who’d turn up and for people who’ve put work in. But we couldn’t keep going like that.”
Several players will now be looking for a new team. The club had 55 open-age players registered, but they can have only 30 if they run only one team. “It’s very disappointing for lads who won’t now get a game,” added Pallister. “We’ll keep 30 who’ll be prepared to play without needing a Friday phone call.”
All Blacks had a second string when they were a National Conference club as part of that league’s rules. They dropped the ‘A’ team after leaving the Conference but demand saw it brought back, with the reserves climbing from division seven to four of the Pennine League. However, they have struggled at times this season and last to get teams out.
Pallister says the club will look to reintroduce the reserves next season. “There are players who want to play and we’ve a good under-18s side,” he said. “You’ve got to keep lads playing. We’re here from U8s upwards and hope lads stay with us into open-age rugby.”
Meanwhile, All Blacks’ first team will look to build on last week’s confidence-boosting win when they travel to Moorends in the championship.
Simon Malarkey’s men ended a five-game winless sequence with victory at St Joseph’s. However, they will have to run fitness checks on Jamie Norris, Adam Kirby and Greg Neill and be without Dean Smith and Liam Haxby.
Selby Warriors go to Wortley knowing victory over the winless hosts could lift them to second in division three. Warriors ‘A’ host strugglers Cowling Harlequins in division seven – possibly with former first-team boss Paul Helstrip, now the club’s director of coaching, making a rare appearance.