EAST Kilbride Pirates have been dealt yet another cash blow after a fourth game in as many months was cancelled at short notice.
After announcing a fortnight ago that an away match with Leicester Falcons, scheduled for last Sunday, wouldn’t be going ahead, the Pirates were hit with more bad news when Birmingham Bulls pulled out of this Saturday’s match, which was due to take place at Hamilton Rugby Club.
It’s a bitter financial blow for the Pirates, who have already paid for the venue hire and will now miss out on gate receipts and any associated profits from refreshments and merchandise on the day.
Already this season, Doncaster Mustangs pulled out of the season opener on April 15, while Leicester Falcons cancelled both their home match on June 24 and the away game on July 8.
This means the Pirates have not played since June 9 – when they travelled to beat Yorkshire Rams 13-0 – and now hope their next match, due to be played at home to Doncaster Mustangs on Sunday, July 22, will go ahead.
Despite this recent call-off being another cause of embarrassment for the British American Football National League (BAFANL), Pirates’ chairwoman Amanda McDonald believes the league are not to blame for the host of call-offs this season, pointing the figure at poor management from the teams involved.
She said: “It’s very disappointing news. The guys were really pumped up for the match and this latest call-off has just left everyone feeling frustrated.
“For us, it’s a big financial concern and we are disappointed to have let a lot of people down.
“This has happened quite a lot this season, but it’s absolutely not down to the structure of the league – it’s down to the mismanagement of the teams involved here. The Bulls made the semi-finals of Britbowl last year and it was the Falcons we beat in the final so, on paper, there was no reason why they shouldn’t be in this league.
“But it’s possibly a reflection of the economy and how expensive this game is. Scotland is a long way for these sides to come – especially when they are struggling to get teams together and know they are probably going to get beaten comfortably – I can see why they don’t want to make the trip.
“What has happened may lead to a re-think as to how the league is structured next season, but we will see what happens.”
The Leicester Falcons have now pulled out of the league completely after irregularities with the transfer of five players from Italy.
But the call-offs have boosted the Pirates’ league position as they have been awarded victories for each of the four games cancelled, together with the four victories they have played out so far.
However, McDonald warned the players won’t get complacent.
She added: “We can’t rest on our laurels. There’s still a lot to play for because, if we win our final two games, we will get the first week of the playoff round off and we will then be at home for our first playoff match, so that’s a big advantage.”