Newcastle match off as winds pummel Kingston Park

Last updated at 21:45 29 February 2008

Tonight's Guinness Premiership match between Newcastle and Wasps was postponed

after high winds snapped a post and blew off part of the Kingston Park roof.

The 10,200 sell-out game was called off 90 minutes before kick-off on the

grounds of spectator safety.

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With winds gusting around 60mph and a forecast indicating 75mph, Kingston Park

staff had already taken down several advertising hoardings and removed wheelie

bins from the ground.

But with workers struggling to put up a replacement post, part of the West

stand roof was blown off and on to the pitch.

With spectators not allowed into the ground, the match was called off after

discussions between referee Tony Spreadbury and Kingston Park stadium manager

David Culling.

Officials from both clubs then discussed the possibility of re-scheduling the

game for Sunday, but it was decided it was too short a timescale to put

everything in place and the match will now be played later in the season.

Spreadbury said: "When I arrived at the ground, the safety officer asked to

see me about the weather forecast.

"The post snapping was a big concern. Another one could have gone during the

match and the possibility of an injury to a player or spectators doesn't bear

thinking about.

"It's such a pity with a good game in prospect in front of a full house and I

was so looking forward to refereeing such a game but player and spectator safety

must come first and I was not about to take any risks on that score."

Both Falcons director of rugby John Fletcher and Wasps supremo Ian McGeechan

now face a headache rescheduling the match given the RBS 6 Nations programme,

Wasps' involvement in the EDF Energy Cup and Newcastle's in the European

Challenge Cup.

The rearranged game is unlikely to be played on a weekend.

Fletcher said: "A decision has been made with the safety of people foremost.

"That's what's important. The post snapped and there was some damage to roof

of the stand and the safety officer and referee basically didn't have any


"I don't think Mat Tait would have enjoyed it had a post come down and whacked

him on the head.

"I have no idea when we will get the game played. There was not real chance of

it being played over the weekend with all that entailed so we have no real idea

when it will be played now.

"We have to see what happens to Wasps in the EDF Cup and to us in Europe and

we will fit it in.

"I was there when the decision was made but I wasn't consulted because it's

not my decision to make and that's fine. It was the decision of the safety

officer and the referee and they both came to same decision."

Wasps already have two midweek games and McGeechan said: "We could now have

three midweek games, which would be a challenge, but we will just have to deal

with it.

"When you get a piece of the stand roof blowing off, you can't have the game

going ahead because it would be dangerous for the spectators and the players and

when the posts snapped, we knew there was a problem."

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