Rugby League: Workington find safety in consortium

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The Independent Online
The three clubs looking down the barrel of expulsion from the game had what might be termed mixed fortunes at the Rugby League Council meeting at Salford yesterday, with one surviving, one committing suicide and one entering a sort of limbo.

Workington Town managed to convince their peers that they can get out of their financial pit and they will continue to be members of the League with their full share of money from News Limited next season. A new commitment of finance from a consortium headed by the Cumbrian businessman, Bill Dobie, swung the balance in their favour.

Prescot, serial strugglers under various names for as long as anyone can remember, jumped before they were pushed, sending a letter that said they no longer wished to be members.

The club has been on a final warning since January last year about the need to raise its standards and would have attracted little or no support for any bid to remain in existence.

Keighley, who like Workington have been in administration for more than year, remain in business, but whether they will receive any cash allocated to them is in doubt.

Peter O'Hara, the administrator who has been running the club, added a twist to proceedings by taking out a court injunction preventing the Council from considering their membership or their funding.

In the event, no argument was raised against them remaining in membership, but the board of directors, which had previously recommended their expulsion, was empowered to consider their funding should a court hearing in Leeds tomorrow lift the injunction.

Assuming that Keighley do participate next year, that will leave 19 clubs outside Super League. They are meeting today to try to thrash out a fixture formula but indications were that they would opt for one division and a gruelling 36-game season.

The winner of that division will qualify for promotion to Super League if it meets criteria, which will be set down before the end of next season. But there will be no relegation from Super League.

The newly reformed Oldham club, which was accepted into associate membership of the League, has made its first signing. John Hough, the former Warrington hooker who has been freed by his previous club, has signed a one-year contract, along with Darren Robinson, who played reserve-team rugby for the now defunct Oldham Bears last season.

Lokeni Savelio, the Western Samoan forward, who was briefly on the transfer list at Salford last season, has signed a new one-year contract with the club.