Rugby match at new pitch called off after blunder
Disappointment for teams as clubhouse not ready for fixture
THE much-anticipated first rugby match at the new multimillionpound Canal Park pitches in Inverness was last night abandoned at the last-minute – because the paperwork was not complete.
embarrassed Highland Council officials were forced to call off the match between Highland and Gordonians less than 24 hours before kick-off.
They admitted that all the necessary paperwork on the clubhouse had not been formally signed off.
One Highland rugby club member said: “It’s massively disappointing for the players and the supporters, and for the whole club.”
Colin Howell, Highland Council’s head of infrastructure, said: “All the commissioning and certification has not been fully signed off for the clubhouse facilities to be available this weekend.”
“They were all looking forward to using the new clubhouse”
The first rugby fixture at the new pitches in Inverness was last night called off less than 24 hours before kick-off as it emerged the facilities were not ready.
Red-faced Highland Council officials were forced to abandon today’s match between Highland and Gordonians at the last minute because all the necessary paperwork on the clubhouse had not been signed off.
The embarrassing error has left club officials, players and coaches deeply dis- appointed at not being able to play at the new £4million development.
One Highland Rugby Club member said: “It’s massively disappointing for the players and the supporters, and for the whole club.
“We were all looking forward to this first game, but it’s not happening.”
The impressive clubhouse and 3G pitch was built after the club was relocated to accommodate the new Inverness West Link road.
The club were informed just after 4pm yesterday, though fears had been expressed by some earlier in the week that work at the stadium would not be finished on time.
Colin Howell, Highland Council’s head of infrastructure, said: “The rugby club were due to hold their first senior home fixture this Saturday on the new Canal Parks pitches and we had hoped to make the clubhouse available to them.
“Notwithstanding the efforts of the team, all the commissioning and certification has not been fully signed off for the clubhouse facilities to be available this weekend.
“Building warrant occupation cannot be finalised until this is completed.
“As a contingency, the nearby aquadome facilities were offered to the rugby club to enable them to play on the new pitches.
“However they have decided to remain at the high school for this fixture until the Canal Parks facilities are fully open.
“It is really disappointing for everyone that despite the superb pitches being ready and everything possible having been done to open the clubhouse, the first fixture will not be played at Canal Parks.
“However, the full facilities will soon be open and available for everyone to enjoy.”
Inverness West Councillor Alex Graham last night said: “This is a huge disappointment for the players and coaches and everyone involved with the match.
“They were all looking forward to using the brand new clubhouse and playing on the 3G pitch, but they will now have to wait because of this delay.
“It is very regrettable the match will not go ahead.”
A spokesman for Highland Rugby Club said: “Due to circumstances outwith the control of Highland Rugby Club, [the] opening of the clubhouse has been delayed until further notice.
“We would like to thank all the volunteers who have worked this week to get things ready.
“The matches will take place at the Inverness High School. We hope you will still be able to come and support the club.”
GAME OVER: Andy Little, chairman of Highland rugby club, celebrates the opening of the new facilities at Canal Park yesterday, before the match was called off.
KICKED OFF: Andy Little, of Highland Rugby Club, at the new pitches in Inverness