Training fields

Wet weather and closed fields to delay the start of the Group 3 season | Manning River Time

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The Rugby League Group 3 season will now start on Saturday 7 May. Perhaps. This was determined at a hastily called meeting of clubs held at the Wingham Services Club on Friday April 22 following the start of the competition season. Seven of the eight clubs were represented, with Taree City the only absentee. The launch of Taree City took place on the same evening, the shock caused when group three had to change the date of their function due to prior booking at the service club, the group’s main sponsor. The season was scheduled to start on Saturday April 30 and Sunday May 1. However, the continued wet weather and resulting closed fields make this impossible. Team training sessions have also been heavily impacted due to pitch closures. The clubs have agreed to postpone the start date to Saturday May 7. The April 30/May 1 round will now be played later in the season, possibly the June long weekend when no games are scheduled. However, Group Three Chairman Wayne Bridge warned that May 7 is uncertain if the rain continues and the fields remain closed. RELATED: Six clubs to start North Coast women’s rugby league competition “The final decision will be with the councils,” said Mr Bridge. (Group three covers three local government areas – MidCoast, Port Macquarie-Hastings and Kempsey Shire.) “Councils control the pitches and if the pitches are closed we can’t play. Wingham attacks Port City at Wingham. Even if the weather clears up, the Old Bar Reserve are unlikely to be fit to play on that date, club chairman Andrew Wilkes has confirmed. Earlier in the evening, the coaches were interviewed as part of the season launch. While fully understanding the issue, all expressed frustration with the delayed start to the season, especially given the disruptions caused by the pandemic over the past two years. Macleay Valley player-manager Anthony Cowan said wryly there was plenty of land available in the Kempsey area. “We could play every game there, have a magic round,” he suggested.

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