Statement from Pontypool RFC chief executive officer, Ben Jeffreys, following Narberth RFC's controversial decision to postpone yesterday's WRU National Championship match:
I want to take this opportunity to apologise to everybody who made the long trip to Narberth yesterday, only to be told that the game was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
Because it is now seemingly apparent that the inconvenience you’ve experienced was entirely avoidable, I think it is only appropriate that we explain to you what transpired yesterday.
We first received correspondence from Narberth on Wednesday, who explained their concern over the state of their pitch. In response to this, we stated that we needed a verdict on the condition of their pitch at no later than 9am on Saturday morning.
We subsequently had our first discussion with Narberth at 9am yesterday morning as agreed, where they communicated that the pitch was in a playable condition at the time, but with more rain forecast later that morning, the pitch could not withstand much more rainfall.
We received a second phone call just prior to 12pm, where Narberth officials informed us that there had been additional rainfall and that the pitch had become waterlogged and was unplayable.
Faced with this information, we reluctantly took the decision to trust Narberth’s assessment in good faith and postpone the fixture.
At the time this decision was reached, the Pontypool team coach was situated in a service station near to Carmarthen, approximately 40 minutes from Narberth.
However, it was later brought to our attention by several supporters who were at the Lewis Lloyd Ground that there was no evidence to suggest that the pitch was waterlogged. We were subsequently sent several pictures which clearly shows the pitch was in more than suitable condition to host today’s fixture.
In retrospect, we should have continued the journey to Narberth and insisted that the referee perform a full inspection upon arrival, rather than simply accepting the feedback from Narberth.
I will stop short of accusing Narberth officials of deliberately postponing the match, but needless to say, we were wrong to trust their word and we are incredibly disappointed with these events.
We have learnt a valuable lesson and I can assure you that we will not be so naive in the future. We will follow the rulebook to the letter in all subsequent instances where there is any doubt regarding playing conditions.
Needless to say, our team are relishing the opportunity to return to the Lewis Lloyd Ground later this year.
So on behalf of all of the management of Pontypool RFC, I am sincerely sorry for these circumstances. We will not let such a thing happen again.
All attention now turns our National Cup match versus Carmarthen Quins RFC. We are offering free entry to this match, so I hope you will #PackThePark and get behind the team.