The debacle follows similar episodes for Rose this season in the William Hill Scottish Cup when their match away to Wick Academy was called off just 40 minutes ahead of kick-off in the Highlands while a hike to Forfar was abandoned after just six minutes of action due to floodlight failure.
Harkins couldn’t believe referee Kyle Hall didn’t let the game go ahead, the official having consulted both secretaries an hour earlier to ask their opinion on a small part of the Barnetts Park surface only to call the match off after both teams had completed their warm-ups.
A local referee passed the pitch playable at 9am with no rain falling in the intervening five-hour period.
Harkins said: “The ref got the two secretaries together at one o’clock and asked them our opinion on what was a bit of false ground – I would call it – up near the byline corner-flag area and I said we’d played on worse at Wick and Irvine Meadow this year, so I didn’t see a problem with it. Then, an hour later, he decided to call the game off.
“I think he probably made the wrong decision and it’s a costly decision for us. The rest of the pitch compared to what was a three-metre square at most, was fine. His opinion was that it was dangerous if somebody went to play a ball in and their foot could have got dug in. I’ve played on parks when the whole park was heavier than that, not just a wee bit.”
Rose have been left out of pocket by more than £400 as a result, but hope to recoup some of the cash. Harkins has been in touch with Scottish Junior Football Association secretary Tom Johnston and referee chief Drew Herbertson and John Fleming of the SFA, while East Region secretary John Reilly will voice Rose’s displeasure at a meeting at Hampden today.
Harkins continued: “Possibly nothing will come of it and we’ll just be out of pocket for the bus. It’s difficult because it’s certainly not the fault of St Andrews in anyway because they did everything they needed to do. I don’t know whether somebody will reimburse us or we’ll just have to take the hit. It’s just unfortunate that it keeps happening to us all the time.”