DONCASTER Knights had a completely wasted Saturday last weekend.
We were due to play at London Welsh, whose ground is in Richmond. An RFU appointed referee inspected their pitch last Friday at 4pm and deemed it playable in spite of the fact that matches all around were being cancelled due to the dropping temperatures.
But Knights were told that their game was on so, according to RFU regulations, were obliged to travel which they duly did on Saturday morning leaving Castle Park at 7.45am in spite of severe weather warnings for later that day.
Although the weather appeared to brighten up as we approached London our coach temperature gauge showed the outside reading as only just above freezing and the reports from Heathrow, only a few miles from the ground, said that there it was -2.
We arrived at Hounslow. where we were due to have lunch at 11am and the grass covered area outside was solid.
We ate our lunch and a phone call to the ground revealed that, at that point, the game was still on so we set off for Old Deer Park at just after midday.
We arrived at the ground at 12.30pm and our Director of Rugby Brett Davey, skipper Chris Hallam and the rest of the team went to inspect the pitch.
It soon became apparent that, in their eyes, the pitch was dangerously hard and we made our views known.
The London Welsh skipper wanted to play so, as the two captains disagreed, it was down to the referee and he sided with us, being particularly concerned of the danger of scrummaging.
So back onto the coach we went and it was a disgruntled Knights party who left the ground not understanding how the pitch could be deemed playable by the RFU referee who had inspected it the day before.
What made it worse was that we encountered the severe weather forecast earlier just north of Leicester but, fortunately, we managed to get back to Doncaster before the worst of it arrived.
The match has now been rearranged for tomorrow and, based on forecasts, we are not particularly optimistic that the game will be on.
All we hope is that we do not have to go to London again to find the pitch dangerous. Nobody likes missing matches, and we already have the Nottingham match to catch up with, but we have a duty to our players and the RFU regulations clearly say that a match cannot go ahead it the pitch conditions are considered to be dangerous!