Freeze puts Saints' semi-final on ice

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Rugby League


The Regal Trophy semi-final between St Helens and Warrington has been postponed until next Thursday after Saints bowed to the inevitable and called off today's game.

Temperatures down to minus 12 degrees defeated the covers at Knowsley Road and the refusal of Wigan police to allow the match to be switched at short notice to Central Park's heated pitch left no other alternative.

"We could have waited until the morning of the game, but it was better to make the decision now," Saints' chief executive, David Howes, said.

The club still hopes to host the New Year's Day match against Leeds before they meet Warrington on Thursday.

The delay in the semi-final could help Saints to get some of their injured players, including the Great Britain forward, Chris Joynt, back into action. However, other long-term casualties, such as Paul Newlove and Anthony Sullivan, are unlikely to be fit in time.

St Helens face a inquiry on Friday into the weakened team they fielded at Wigan on Boxing Day.

A side containing only one first team regular were beaten 58-4 and, despite claiming to have medical evidence to cover all the absentees, Saints have been called before the League's board of directors to explain their selection.

Saints' league match against Warrington has now been put back from next Friday to Sunday. The game between Sheffield Eagles and Bradford Bulls will now be the televised Friday night match.

There will be at least one match on New Year's Day, whatever happens to the weather in the meantime. Bradford and Halifax have switched their game postponed on Boxing Day from Odsal to the Alfred McAlpine Stadium in Huddersfield, which has undersoil heating.

Workington have signed the amateur international Ian Devlin from the Barrow-based non-league club Walney Central. The 22-year-old second row chose the Derwent Park club ahead of Oldham, Warrington and Salford.