Rugby clubs in bitter row

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The Cromwell and Wakatipu rugby club presidents are putting the boot into each other in a bitter match-scheduling row. 

The two clubs’ Premier teams were due to play in Cromwell last Saturday afternoon but, like all Central Otago sides, had to reschedule their clash because of the Dunedin Test that night. 

Wakatipu agreed to play the game under lights in Cromwell last Thursday night. 

The game never happened – two days before, Cromwell, which had booked two other teams that night, asked Wakatipu to switch to Friday night. 

Wakatipu refused, because players working nights had organised to take Thursday off. 

Cromwell then offered Tuesday or Wednesday night this week. Wakatipu again refused, so the Otago Country board has stepped in to set a date. 

“It seems to be all about Wakatipu,” angry Cromwell club president John Aitken says. 

“A couple of years ago they made a lot of noise about going to Southland if they didn’t get their way. 

“There’s more than one team in the competition.” 

Wakatipu club president Damien O’Connell responds: “It’s just been a massive breakdown in communication in their club and John gets a bit upset and starts ranting and raving. 

“There are players in key positions that we can’t do without, like frontrowers, who work at night.” 

Wakatipu prepare to play Clyde away this Saturday. Wakatipu beat Clyde earlier this season 41-0. 

Wakatipu coach Kelvin Middleton: “We played our best game of the season in the first round against Clyde so they will be trying to make amends.” 

Second-placed Arrowtown, which clobbered Clyde 45-12 last weekend, face top-of-the-table Maniototo at home this Saturday. 

“It will probably be the first time all year we should have a full-strength squad to choose from,” Arrowtown coach Blair Wilce says.