SUPERMARINE'S pursuit of the Dorset & Wilts One North has been dealt a blow by a five-point deduction for fielding ineligible player.
The South Marston side would have taken over at the top of the table having won their game against Melksham at the weekend but the points deduction means Marine have slipped down to fourth place.
However Marine know that if they win their remaining four games they will win league, an equasion unchanged by the penalty.
The club broke regulation 4.1 of Appendix Two that governs the Dorset & Wilts RFU Competitions when they brought on colt Macauley Reynolds in their game against Pewsey Vale on February, 15. The rule stipulates that first team senior rugby players above level nine must be registered with the league or the team fielding them will face a points deduction.
Reynolds is a registered colt with the club and has the correct permissions to play adult rugby but was not registered with the league at the time.
First Team coach Sean Millwaters said he felt the club had been punished for trying to develop their youth system.
“It is a blow because it is not as if we set out to hoodwink anyone or play a ringer,” he told the Advertiser.
“We’re all for pushing and developing the youth, he’s had some good games for the colts and some good second team games to. So we said let’s throw him in against Pewsey, who in fairness are not the strongest team in the league.
“There’s no point being bitter and blaming x, y, z, if you go down the cold hard lines of the league we broke the rules and you have to accept the punishment, but it does feel like we’ve lost points for trying to develop our youth.”
Supermarine have won their last 14 games and are undoubtedly the form side in the division and it is far from inconceivable that they could go on to take the title, even with the deduction.
Losing five points is certainly a blow to Supermarine but Millwaters believes the penalty could be a galvanising factor for his team.
“If we needed a catalyst to pull this team together then that is it.
“When you look at it I think we can still win this league and achieve what we want to achieve.”
Reynolds has now been registered with the league and will feature in their last four games of the season and is in their plans for next season as well.