Rugby League: Carlisle await League's ruling after failing to field a team

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The Independent Online
The League is investigating Carlisle's failure to fulfil their Divisional Premiership fixture against Whitehaven on Sunday, having conceded on the morning of the match that the club could not field a team.

The Carlisle chairman, Alan Tucker, said: "We only had seven players fit. We had 13 of our first team squad injured and unavailable." Carlisle's problems were exacerbated by their Alliance team having finished its season. Most of the players who could have been called up as replacements were on holiday.

"We were then trying to get amateur players to make up the numbers, because it is a catastrophe to call off a match," Tucker said. "But we found it very hard to contact them on a Bank Holiday and we reached the point of no return."

No date has yet been set for the postponed match to be played. The League is waiting for reports from both clubs but has the power to fine Carlisle.

Salford's coach, Andy Gregory, has defended his team selection for Sunday's defeat at Sheffield. A team featuring four debutants was beaten 30-12 and Gregory and the club's chairman, John Wilkinson, were jeered by Salford fans afterwards. Gregory insisted that the missing first-teamers were all injured.

Bobbie Goulding will be able to play in St Helens' final Super League fixture of the season, against Paris on Sunday, despite being sent off against Leeds on Monday.

Goulding's case will not be heard until the following Thursday and he will be available for a match in which victory will guarantee a top four place for the Premiership play-offs. Wigan and Leeds will be competing for the other top four spot when they meet on Friday.

Jamie Mathiou, the Leeds prop on the wrong end of the tackle for which Goulding was dismissed, was released from hospital after a check-up. But, having been unconscious for five minutes, he will not be allowed to play on Friday.

The Bradford Bulls, the Super League Champions, have set a new record average attendance for any season since the introduction of two division rugby almost a quarter of a century ago. Their league crowds have averaged 15,163, compared with the previous best, Wigan's 14,561 in 1993-4.

The Wigan coach, Eric Hughes, insisted his side's season was far from over after they beat Bradford at Odsal on Monday. Hughes now has set his sights on the Premiership to bring a happy end to a disappointing season.

"If we get a win against Leeds on Friday and finish in the top four that will give us a platform for an attack on the Premiership and the World Club Championship," he said.

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