Wakefield Wildcats: Club thanks volunteers as task turns to rearranging Leeds Rhinos derby

HELPING HAND: Volunteers at Wakefield Wildcats clear the pitch in a bid to get the Leeds Rhinos match on.
HELPING HAND: Volunteers at Wakefield Wildcats clear the pitch in a bid to get the Leeds Rhinos match on.

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats have thanked the scores of volunteers for their help in attempting to get Sunday’s rearranged Super League clash against Leeds Rhinos on.

Dozens of volunteers went down to the Rapid Solicitors Stadium on Saturday and Sunday to help clear snow from the pitch and terraces but their hard work came to no avail.

The club was on course to make the pitch playable and the terraces safe but the match was called off at 10am on Sunday for safety concerns outside the stadium.

The game was initially scheduled to be played on Friday night before heavy snowfall forced Wildcats to move the match back to Sunday, only for more snow and freezing conditions to thwart the West Yorkshire derby.

Wildcats chief executive James Elston was amongst those helping out, along with chairman Andrew Glover, and he paid tribute to those who gave their services over the weekend, despite being frustrated the match could not be played.

“It was especially frustrating because I was down at the ground on Saturday morning and Sunday morning shovelling snow!” he said. “They say the players need to do rehab but I think I need to do rehab after all that shovelling.

“We had about 40 people down on Saturday and 50 down on Sunday helping out and we were so grateful to the people that came down.

“Some people came down who couldn’t even afford to come to the match itself which just shows the spirit amongst the Wakefield people, it was a really good effort.

“We had staff down and the under-19s players down on Sunday morning, I think the only people not involved were the first team players who were due to play”.

The strong winds did not help Wakefield in their efforts, with snow being blown all across the pitch.

“In some parts of the ground there was probably 2ft of snow. The wind was bad too, it was pushing it all over.” he said.

“It came down to the safety officer and the match commissioner. We were going to get the pitch all clear, the inside of the stadium was fine. There was some snow on the edge and we’d have had to cover that but it would have been fine. We stopped shovelling when we found out it wasn’t going ahead. It was due to safety issues outside the ground.”

Wildcats now face the task of fitting the match in elsewhere on the full-up fixture list.

A spare weekend in the Challenge Cup schedule could be one option but both clubs will want to progress as far as possible in the competition.

It means the match may now be played on a Monday or Thursday night, with Wakefield having to tinker with their schedule to fit the match in.

“We have to have a look at the fixture list and it’s going to difficult,” said Elston.

“It’s going to be hard for Leeds too because of the Exiles game. There’s the Challenge Cup as well but it’s hard to plan for that because we want to get to the final.

“We’re having a look at maybe playing it on a Monday and maybe moving a match to a Thursday. We have two Monday games against Widnes and Hull FC so we may work around that. The Leeds game could be on a Monday or the Thursday.

“It’s our fixture so we get to choose but we obviously have to get involved with Leeds too.”

Wakefield want to get a new date penned in as soon as possible and tickets for the original fixture will still be valid for the rearranged date.