1:15pm Thursday 22nd May 2014
SCOTT RHODES has lambasted as “atrocious” and “pathetic” local rugby league chiefs’ decision to organise two York & District ARL Cup clashes in the run-up to York Acorn ARLC’s toughest match of the year so far.
And he is so upset he is considering pulling his side out of future local area competitions.
Acorn go to unbeaten table-toppers Oulton in National Conference League division one on Saturday (2.30pm), less than 20 hours after the Blue and Golds play their York & District Community Cup final against Selby Warriors.
Acorn’s under-18s also took on New Earswick in a York & District U18s Cup game last night.
Head coach Rhodes admits Acorn will field an ‘A’ team tomorrow, as usual for local cup ties, but says the timing of the final makes it difficult to call up reserves for his 17 on Saturday. Moreover, both the first team and ‘A’ team often field U18s but would be wary of doing so this weekend due to last night’s tie.
He also says either York & District tie should have been put back a week, when the Blue and Golds’ first team had no game.
“There are six or seven U18s who play second-team and a couple first-team,” said Rhodes, pictured. “Yet York & District have given us these two games in three days, a day before we go to Oulton.
“It’s atrocious what they’re asking us to do but there’s no way we can get around it.
“I’ve got two or three spots available in my 17 on Saturday and I’ll have to pick them from a Friday night game. We haven’t got a game next week so why couldn’t they switch it to next Wednesday? Selby’s season has finished so it doesn’t affect them.
“It’s pathetic. I can’t understand why they won’t change them.
“It’s not fair to ask U18s to play Wednesday, Friday, Saturday. Is it right to ask them to back up by playing Friday after Wednesday? How can we put them in against Oulton on Saturday?
“It’s outrageous - two games in four days, never mind three in four days. Where’s the player welfare?
“Maybe we should pull out of York & District altogether. It’s disgusting how they’ve treated us.”
York & District ARL secretary Spen Allison said nobody from Acorn had asked to change the date of either cup tie, though an Acorn representative had asked on Tuesday if they could switch last night’s U18s opponents from New Earswick to Heworth.
Allison, stressing York & District were amenable to switching dates to assist their clubs, said: “I understand Scott’s sentiments regarding some U18s playing open age but the date of (tomorrow’s) final was set some time ago.
“If there were problems they should have let us know and we’d have been open to reorganising it, but we haven’t heard anything. I’m a bit amazed we now have some controversy.”
Acorn have not been helped by an ankle injury to Haiden Barber in last Friday’s Yorkshire Men’s League Forty-20 Cup final, when the ‘A’ team were pipped 26-24 by Kippax ‘A’. Andy Gargan is also unavailable, but Gareth Singleton is back to replace Barber at centre.
Rhodes, whose first team had no game last week, was impressed by the way the club’s youngsters fronted up to physical opponents in that final.
“A lot of the Kippax team are ex-Fryston and I remember going there in the Yorkshire Cup when we got trounced,” said Rhodes.
“We had a young side out against them on Friday. There were a couple of scraps in there, but we battled well and only just got edged out.”
He will leave it late to decide which fringe players get asked to travel to Oulton, when Acorn will come up against an in-form team orchestrated by veteran former York Wasps and Scotland ace Jamie Benn.
Added Rhodes: “They’re well drilled and are doing well. I played with Jamie for Scotland and he’s always been very good. He kicks well and leads them well.
“Can we win it? I’d say we can - despite no help from York & District.”
Tomorrow’s final kicks off at 7pm at Heworth’s Elmpark Way. Admission is £3 or £1 for concessions and free for under-15s.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Heworth host fellow strugglers Eastmoor in NCL division three.
In Yorkshire Men’s League group two, Heworth ‘A’ go to Castleford Panthers, while York Lokomotive host Moldgreen.
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