2:00pm Thursday 26th January 2012
STOURBRIDGE director of rugby Neil Mitchell says that Cambridge are making a mockery of the National One campaign after they stopped paying their players mid-way through the season.
The cash-strapped club, who survived a winding up order only 13 months ago, revealed this week that they had sacked director of rugby Bob Crooks and stopped paying their players to avoid going into financial meltdown.
But the Saxons chief believes the move has come because Cambridge are 18 points clear of the drop-zone with Stourbridge occupying the final relegation spot.
“They are thinking they have enough points to stay in this league and have pulled the plug but that makes a mockery of the whole National One campaign,” Mitchell said.
“It’s grossly unfair what Cambridge are doing and many questions have to be asked.
“Clubs like ourselves are fighting for our lives down the foot of the table so it is grossly unfair for a club to be able to do this.
“We were talking to players in the summer, offering them deals, only for those players to be offered more money to go to Cambridge.
“But that counts for nothing if they don’t have the money to see it through.”
Cambridge chairman Steve Bowler said when announcing the cost-cutting measures: “We knew that we would be OK financially until the end of January but it looked like we would have to make some dramatic cuts.”
Mitchell also said that current Saxons lock Robbie Hurrell, who arrived at Stourton Park in the summer, is owed money from his time at the Blood and Sand and is in touch with his former team-mates, who are due to hold a meeting this week to discuss the situation at the 10th-placed club.
Should the Volac Park side be deducted any points following this move it would boost Stour’s hopes of survival in National One.
However, Mitchell says those thoughts need to be forgotten when his players welcome high-fliers Ealing Trailfinders to Stourton Park on Saturday.
And the Saxons chief has been buoyed by the news that back row pair Alex Rovira and James Rodley will be fit for the game.
Mitchell said: “We need to be competitive right from the start. We were good in the second-half at Blackheath but that has been the case in the last three games and we have picked up just three points.
“We really have to fight for our lives now.
“We took them close down there and they have lost to both Coventry and Cinderford so a win on Saturday is not out of the question. But we have to cut down on the errors and play for more than 40 minutes.”
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