OFFICIALS of Hull FC and the Rugby Football League claimed they had no alternative but to call off tonight’s Super League game with Bradford after motorway chaos left the home side short of players.
An accident on the M62 initially delayed the Bulls coach and despite having to detour on the A19 they were able to reach the ground half an hour before the scheduled 8pm kick-off.
But with nine Hull players who were travelling from their homes in West Yorkshire unable to make it to the ground before the latest allowed kick-off time of 915pm it was decided to move the game back to a 3pm start on Sunday.
Hull head of communication, media and marketing James Clark said: “The match has had to be postponed. The reason for that is that there has been a serious collision on the M62.
“The accident involves an oil tanker that contains an unknown substance and that is why the police have had to shut the M62, the nature of the substance means no traffic can pass.
“It did affect the Bradford team coach and they were stuck for over an hour. Unfortunately we have nine players that live in West Yorkshire and they were travelling across. It was a number that does affect whether we can field a team or not.”
Hull had first looked to delay the kick-off and also considered playing the game tomorrow.
“We looked at a delayed kick-off, possibly even tomorrow, but we had to take into account that this is a joint use stadium. We thought 3pm on Sunday afternoon was the best bet,” added Clark.
The RFL’s match commissioner for the game Dave Asquith had no hesitation in postponing the Super League round two fixture.
“We tried everything humanly possible but when players are stuck unfortunately we couldn’t accommodate that,” said Asquith.
Bradford football manager Stuart Duffy admitted that in his 15 years in rugby league he had never gone through anything similar.
Duffy said: “Fifteen years I’ve been involved with Bradford Bulls, and I’ve never had to divert off the motorway on the way to a game. Fortunately we were before the A19 (exit and could divert).
“Realistically eight or nine of their players weren’t going to get here before 915pm which is the last time the game could have kicked off.
“At the end of the day we can’t expect Hull to put a load of kids in because it’s an important competition.
“We could have played it tomorrow but it would have been an early kick-off and we would have got back late tonight.
“It’s better for everybody concerned that the game is played on Sunday, and we’ll travel across on Sunday morning.”