Masterton Red Star [black, white hoops], have struggled since their return to premier rugby. PHOTO/FILE

Struggling Masterton Red Star pull out halfway through season

RUGBY

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Masterton Red Star have pulled the pin on playing in the Premier club championship.

The beleaguered club has made an ignominious exit from the top level of Wairarapa-Bush club rugby after nine rounds of this season’s Tui Cup.

The writing was probably on the wall when the premier team defaulted last Saturday’s match when they were unable to field a front row against Greytown.

It is understood that players were given an ultimatum to turn up for training early in the week, but a lack of numbers forced the club to pull the pin on the Premier championship.

Masterton Red Star president Jack McGlashan confirmed on Thursday the main reason for the withdrawal was because players were not turning up for training with some having work commitments.

The club would look to rebuild now, he said, before declining to comment any further.

The collapse of the team is a sad day for the club, which has a proud tradition and a very strong junior rugby programme.

The junior club is not affected by this decision.

Since returning to the premier competition in 2018 after a five-year absence, Masterton Red Star have suffered 24 consecutive losses [including two defaults], conceded 1463 points [60 points a game] and scored 182 at an average of seven per game.

That does not include a loss in the 2018 promotion-relegation game against Pioneer which was later overturned in the protest room.

The Tui Cup will now be contested by the seven remaining clubs, and points gained from the games against Masterton Red Star will be scrapped.

Wairarapa-Bush Council of Clubs chairman Rex Playle said competition rules stated that if a team withdrew from competition during any round, results, points, and points differential statistics from any completed match involving the withdrawn team would be void.

The withdrawal of the club is likely to make several players available to play for other clubs.

“We are aware there are players wishing to transfer to new clubs,” Playle said.

“The Wairarapa-Bush Adjudication Panel will review those transfers on a case-by-case basis over the coming days or weeks as they arise.”

Playle praised the efforts of the club’s members in trying circumstances.

“While the withdrawal is unfortunate and disappointing for our rugby community, the people at the Masterton Red Star club have worked hard over the past few years and their efforts should be recognised.

“We will be meeting with the Masterton Red Star committee over the next few weeks to assist where we can in ensuring the club maintains their presence in the Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union senior rugby community.”

CLUB’S PROUD HISTORY

  • Masterton Red Star is a proud club with a proud history. An amalgamation of two fierce rivals, Masterton and Red Star, the club won the Senior A Championship in their first season together in 1996.
  • They won further championships in 2000 and 2009. Masterton Red Star pulled out of the premier grade in 2013 after winning the Shannahan Cup [second tier senior title] in 2012.
  • After five years in Senior Reserve grade they won the right to play East Coast in a promotion-relegation game after their victory in the 2017 Senior Reserve final. They were subsequently readmitted to the Premier Grade after the withdrawal of Pioneer before the start of the 2018 season.
  • Before the amalgamation, Masterton had won nine Wairarapa-Bush titles from 1971 to 1987. Red Star won four titles, including three in a row in the 1970s. Between them, the two clubs won every title in the 70s.