Ledger's positive cannabis test

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The Independent Online
Barry Ledger, the Swinton and former Great Britain winger, has been banned for six months for using cannabis. Ledger tested positive after a match in November and his ban is back-dated to 29 November, when his case was originally heard, but will still put him out of action for the remainder of this season.

The 32 year old, who had a long and successful career with St Helens before joining Leigh and then Swinton, said that he considered the punishment harsh and that he would have to consider his future. "I don't know yet if I'll be playing again next season" he said as he left the hearing in Leeds yesterday.

His suspension is double that handed out to the only other player to test positive for cannabis in England, the New Zealand international, Dave Watson, now with Bradford, who was banned for three months while playing for Halifax in 1992.

"We presented his excellent record and submitted mitigating circumstances and, while we feel the sentence is very severe, we support the League in its determination to eliminate any drug misuse in the sport," said the Swinton chairman, Malcolm White, whorepresented Ledger at the hearing.

He said that Ledger would not be appealing against the sentence, unlike Jamie Bloem, the Doncaster full-back found guilty of using steroids, whose appeal against his two-year ban was postponed yesterday.

Two players who hope to oppose each other in Sunday's Regal Trophy quarter-final are both making person appearances before the league's disciplinary committee today.

Henry Paul of Wigan, sent off for a high tackle on Boxing Day, and Sonny Nickle of St Helens, dismissed this week at Wigan, could both be ruled out of the tie by any suspension.

Gateshead International Stadium has been confirmed as the venue for the England v France match on 18 February, after an encouraging attendance for the Great Britain under-21 fixture against Australia in November.