Ruckus over rugby draw shambles

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Central Otago rugby clubs have learnt to their dismay that this season’s first three Premiers games counted for nothing. 

The opening three matches were originally going to provide seeding points for later Countrywide clashes between Central Otago and South Otago sides. 

However, after six of Central Otago’s eight clubs protested over the Countrywide games, a new draw was released. 

The Countrywide clashes were retained but the Central Otago region was split in two for three ‘derby’ games before a full single round started two weeks ago. 

Seeding for later Countrywide games was instead to be based on last year’s final placings. 

Several Central Otago clubs have only belatedly realised that these ‘derbies’ not only weren’t seeding matches – 
they also didn’t count for competition points. 

However Arrowtown, which won its first three games, still put the White Horse Cup on the line in two home games. 

Arrowtown coach Simon Spark blames poor communication between some clubs and their Central region delegates for the “bizarre” situation. 

“Those [first three] games should have carried the points through – at least you would have been playing for something.” 

Wakatipu coach Kelvin Middleton says he’s “relatively happy because we lost two of our first three games”. 

“We cut back on our pre-season games because I thought we would use those three as more preseason hitouts.” 

However Middleton still labels the draw “a shambles”. 

Meanwhile, Arrowtown and Wakatipu Premiers rugby teams will be out to redeem themselves tonight after dreadful performances last Saturday. 

Arrowtown are away to Cromwell following their first loss in five rounds. 

They succumbed 36-3 to Maniototo in Ranfurly last weekend after being only 5-3 down at halftime. 

Redemption could be harder for the Wakatipu Premiers, who face Upper Clutha in Wanaka tonight after a first-round home loss to them. 

The Premiers suffered a shock 49-8 away loss to Clyde-Earnscleugh last Saturday. 

The local Premiers teams are playing tonight to avoid clashing with Saturday’s opening of the duck-shooting season.