ORANGE Barbarians will lodge an official protest after their Centennial Coal Cup game against the Lithgow Bears was called off on Saturday.
Lithgow, who were leading 32-6 when referee Terry Strong abandoned the game with 25 minutes left in the second half, have been declared the winners and awarded the competition points.
The Central Western Daily understands that with 30 minutes remaining in the game, Strong spoke to the two captains, warning that unless they controlled their players he would send the offenders from the field.
Five minutes later, the match was abandoned.
In his match report, Strong indicated that the lack of other match officials, and a fear the situation would escalate, left him no choice but to call the game off.
Barbarians player Troy Sweeting said the club would be asking Group 10, who run the competition, to declare the game a no result.
“There was nothing to the incidents. No fighting, no threatening of the referee,” Sweeting said.
“We’re submitting a letter to the Group, along with the match report, and we’re hoping to have the result changed.”
Group 10 President Linore Zamparini backed Strong’s decision.
“The referee chose to err on the side of caution. If he felt the game was threatening to get out of control, then it was a good decision,” Zamparini said.
“With what happened last season with the CYMS-Hawks brawl, we have to be careful. We don’t want to lose fans or the respect of the community.”
Zamparini said that in the event of overwhelming violence in a game, the two teams should be separated and the captains asked by the referee to control their players, as was the case on Saturday.
Sweeting conceded that a shortage of referees and touch judges, seen every weekend in the competition, contributed to the incident.
“More often than not the clubs have to supply touch judges, which is a far from ideal situation,” Sweeting said.
“Wallerawang made a similar complaint last weekend, so it’s obviously a problem.”
In the competition’s other games, CSU Blue defeated Kandos 42-8, CSU Yellow were too strong for Portland 22-14 and Villages United and Wallerawang fought out a 38-all draw.