Leith Rugby club were today due to defy a directive from Murrayfield’s Championship committee and refuse to play a re-arranged East Division Two match at Forrester.
The club had agreed to assist the Bethany Trust selling Christmas trees when a postponement last week saw the Championship committee demand the replay take place at the earliest opportunity despite Leith and Forrester claiming seven alternative Saturday dates existed this seasson,
A statement released by the Leith players says: “We are supporting Bethany Christian Trust’s Caring Christmas Tree Project, which raises money for Edinburgh’s Winter Care Shelter, giving homeless people in our community an opportunity to come in from the cold this Christmas.
“As well as promoting the project, we the playing squad volunteered to sell Christmas trees pre-ordered from the Caring Christmas tree website, at Ocean Terminal this Saturday 20th December, the last shopping Saturday before Christmas.
“Unfortunately due to inclement weather, our fixture with Forrester RFC was postponed last weekend and rescheduled for this coming Saturday, one of the standby dates in East League 2. It was, and is our error as a club that we did not initiate a dispensation request at the point of arranging to volunteer on the 20th, it being an published standby date for postponed fixtures. Our request for dispensation, made on Monday was rejected by the East Region Championship Committee, and we have been instructed to fulfil the fixture against possible sanction, normally a 2-point deduction, should we refuse.
“We believe our request for dispensation should have been granted, particularly given there are seven further standby dates before the end of the season, and we have decided, as a squad of players, supported by our committee, to fulfil our commitment to the Caring Christmas Trees project, and to volunteer, rather than play this Saturday. We believe our participation this Saturday in this volunteering project is the correct course of action to take. The project and the work they undertake is so vital to its users that we are in no place to deny them 20 volunteers
“We would like to pass our apologies to Forrester Rugby Club for the inconvenience this state of affairs has created for them.”