Digby rugby squad forfeits most of season due to field closures

Jonathan
Jonathan Riley
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Digby’s high school rugby team had to forfeit most of their season because they had nowhere to practice or hold games.

The Digby Area Recreation Commission kept the fields closed this spring because they were too wet.

The Mariners held their first practice when the fields opened last week and hosted their first home game Thursday, May 15.

They lost to Avonview 74-5.

“I’m just happy the kids are on the field- literally,” said the Digby coach Corey Webster. “We haven’t been able to practice or play and so we’re way behind, we’re at a big disadvantage.”

The team’s first scheduled game was mid-April and they would have liked to start practicing at the end of March.

Instead the team forfeited six league games, leaving them just seven games for the season and no chance of qualifying for the playoffs.

They also forfeited away games because it wasn’t safe to let the team play until they had had a few practices.

“There was talk of just going and playing,” said Webster. “But until I’m sure they are ready – I hadn’t even taught some of them how to tackle properly. We just couldn’t do it.”

Webster hopes the school, the rugby team and DARC can come to some kind of agreement before next year.

“It’s frustrating and disappointing for the kids,” says Webster. “I’ve got 30 kids coming out twice a week for an afterschool program and then we can’t practice or play. They lose interest.”

Danny Harvieux, facilities manager for DARC, says it has been a tough spring.

“One game, when the field is wet like this spring, that can ruin a field for the whole year,” he said.

About four years ago DARC and the school board came to an agreement whereby DARC would look after the fields – mowing, fertilizing and maintaining and DARC would be responsible for closing them when conditions required it.

“The last three years we have kept a real close eye on it,” said Harvieux. “We check them every day and we close them for soccer too if it’s too wet.

“I hate doing it, it’s the last thing we want to do.”

Harvieux says he is in daily contact with the school liaison Justin Oliver and they have been talking about possible solutions for next year.

They are looking at the possibility of finding another field locally.

Digby has two home games scheduled for next week.

They play Annapolis West Education Centre on Tuesday, May 20 and Kings B on Thursday, May 22. Both games are at 5:30 p.m.

jriley@digbycourier.ca

Organizations: Digby Area Recreation Commission, Mariners

Geographic location: Annapolis West

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Recent comments

  • Daniel Dorazio
    May 18, 2014 - 23:24

    It is sad to see that school extra-curricular activities are not being looked after the school. As past years has shown DARC does not have the interests of all kids in mind. For some kids rugby will be their only experience in organized sports. The real issue at hand is that the quality of grass is being prioritized over the physical and social benefits sports bring to a community. I think i speak for many when i say, I would rather have a ruined field and happy youth than an excellent patch of unused grass. Hopefully next year DARC will learn or lose their privileges before another group of children lose thiers.

    • Community parent
      May 22, 2014 - 20:03

      The field is used for MANY kids ALL throughout the year. DARC is not choosing grass over rugby, they are choosing to have many months of use for kids of all ages rather than a few rugby games that can ruin the field for the rest of the year. Obviously DARC is not doing this because they don't want to see kids be active, they are the ones that offer MANY programs to youth all over our county. Rugby's time of year has a lot to do with it(spring time when fields are wet and frost is coming out of ground). Even Rugby can't be played on a ruined field, it is unsafe. Maybe we should start being grateful that they are taking pride in something that the entire community uses throughout the year and not just letting one team use it a few times then destroying it for the community for the remainder of the year. Also, we haven't even discussed the cost of maintaining the field, not to mention repairing unnecessary damage. I am thankful to all those hardworking people who make it possible for my child to play many sports and be active all throughout the year!