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For their final schedule away game in 2023, the Cornish Pirates travelled to play league leaders Ealing Trailfinders in Round 7 of the Championship.
Unfortunately, following an injury suffered midway through the second half by Cornish Pirates’ replacement Ben Grubb, after a period when both teams left the field, it was decided to abandon the game.
In what had been a closely competitive match, despite the home side leading 12-0 at the time of the abandonment, thanks to late first half tries from hooker Matt Cornish and his replacement Henry Walker, and the one conversion kicked by fly-half Dan Lancaster, there was no guarantee the Trailfinders would have gone on to win the match.
Cornish Pirates’ joint head coach Gavin Cattle commented:
“It was a disappointing end to the afternoon, but player safety is of utmost importance, the human aspect always comes first, and we wish Ben a speedy recovery.
“The conclusion with 57 or 58 minutes played meant that the game was not out of sight or mind, and we were expecting a red card to be shown an Ealing player, which would have meant we would likely play the last 20 minutes or so against 14 men.
“Looking back on the action, I thought physically we were outstanding on both sides of the ball. We had limited possession in the first half and there was a stiff breeze which made it difficult for getting up the pitch, but with the limited ball we had we should have scored with two on one early on.
“Playing with a lot of energy, the grit and determination was there in bucket loads. We did superbly well in defending six or seven driving mauls before their first clever score and, overall, I am proud of the boys.”
“I have said before that this group of players are great and don’t take a backward step. They certainly put their hands up for the shirt, our backs looked dangerous, and prop Jacob Morris in making his first start for us against such a strong Championship team did very well.”
RFU Regulations Reference ‘Abandoned Matches’
Applicable extracts from the regulations read as follows:
4.5 Abandoned Matches
(a) Weather Conditions (which shall be deemed to include bad light in the sole opinion of the referee)
(i) Less than 60 Minutes Played If adverse weather conditions solely prevent a match being played or result in a Match being abandoned with less than sixty minutes having been played, then the match will be replayed in accordance with Regulation 4.7 unless the RFU exceptionally and in its absolute discretion agrees / specifies otherwise.
(ii) 60 or more Minutes Played
If a match is abandoned solely because of weather conditions when sixty or more minutes have been played, then the score at the moment of abandonment shall stand and be deemed the final score in the match. The Referee’s decision as to the necessity for abandonment and the number of minutes played at the moment of abandonment shall be final.
(b) Other Reasons
If the Referee finds it necessary to abandon a match for any reason other than weather conditions, then, irrespective of the number of minutes played, the result of that match shall be reviewed and determined by the RFU (or its delegate). The RFU (or its delegate) may order the match to be replayed in accordance with Regulation 4.7 and/or impose such other sanction as it deems appropriate.
(a) When a match is abandoned, the home Club must notify the RFU (or its delegate) of the reason for non-completion of the match as soon as possible but in any event within 24 hours of the event.
(b) A Match Result Card (which has been duly signed by the Referee) must also be submitted in accordance with Regulation 3.5 which, if appropriate, states the number of minutes played, the score, and the reason for the abandonment.
4.7 Re-scheduling or Re-arranging Matches
A Championship Match shall be played/replayed on a date specified by the RFU. For the avoidance of doubt the RFU may specify the Next Available Date and therefore all Clubs must have access to a ground which meets the required standards in accordance with Regulations 2.6 and 5.3 and has a pitch which is suitably floodlit and meets the requirements set out in Regulation 5.8.