Thirty-four Ulverston rugby league players were left kicking their heels after both of the club’s fixtures were called off during the weekend.

Ulverston’s first team were due to play Oldham St Annes A at Dragley Beck in Division One of the North West Men’s League last Saturday while the second string were scheduled to meet Barrow Island A in the Barrow & District league the evening before.

It is the second occasion that St Annes have pulled out of a trip to Dragley Beck having called off the opening game of the season due to a flu bug in the camp.

The problem arises when clubs’ first teams are short in numbers, thus having to draft in players from their ‘A’ team, leaving them short and being forced to call off fixtures. First team rugby takes priority over ‘A’ team fixtures..

Games being called off, in general, in the Barrow League due to not being able to field a team, results in the opposition being awarded the points with a 24-0 score-line.

At North West Men’s level, teams try and arrange the postponement at a future day as will be the case with Ulverston.

Coach Dennis Porter took the postponement on the chin and was not critical of St Annes., saying: “We are very disappointed with the game being called off. These things happen and you can’t do much about it.

“We should have travelled on Saturday, but the management committee ruled they must come to us first having already called off the game due on the first day of the season.

“We will, all being well, try to go down to their ground in September as at the moment we have no blank dates,” continued the Ulverston boss.

The postponement is nothing new for our teams in the NWML. For several years now the likes of Walney Central, Ulverston, Hindpool Tigers and Roose Pioneers have on umpteen occasions had that dreaded call early, and sometimes late, Saturday morning stating the opposition can’t raise enough players.

What is more disturbing is the fact that many lads change shifts to play on the Saturday and could have played for their A team the night before if the call had come earlier in the week.

“Barrow Island were down in numbers for our ‘A’ team fixture and it is disappointing when during the week the lads turn up for training and get built up for a good work-out at the weekend,” said Porter.

“You have to get on with it and look forward to next week, but as I said these things happen and we have also been in the same situation, but not that often.

“It,s not ideal but you carry on and what is important is that we must all work hard to keep the Barrow League functioning.”

In the Second Division on the National Conference League, Askam failed to raise enough players for their scheduled trip to Crosfields and could face a fine of £500 and even demotion to Division Three next season.