Rotherham Titans invoke rules to force Rotherham Town Cricket Club off of Clifton Lane

ROTHERHAM Titans have confirmed they will honour this weekend's home fixture against Old Elthamians at Clifton Lane at the expense of their co-tenants Rotherham Town Cricket Club.

Rotherham Titans will play their National One opener at Clifton Lane this Saturday (Picture: Gary Longbottom)

The Titans begin their National League One campaign against the Kent-based team tomorrow at 2pm – the same day Rotherham Town were scheduled to face a crucial encounter at home to Rockingham Colliery (12pm).

But the rugby club are now set to enforce a clause in a contract that was signed by both clubs in December 2015, relating to set dates for which team has priority of the venue.

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The Titans released a statement yesterday outlining their efforts to avoid a fixture clash but to no avail.

As a consequence, Rotherham Town will be unable to fulfil their league fixture.

They also state that the requirements of all National League One games are that matches take place on a Saturday afternoon at either 2pm or 3pm, therefore ruling out a possible change of date.

The statement said: “The staging of this fixture on Clifton Lane falls within the scope of the written agreement between Rotherham Town Cricket Club and Rotherham Titans signed on December 15, 2015.

“Clause 4 of that agreement clearly states: ‘The changeover dates remain but Rotherham Town Cricket Club acknowledges that Rotherham Titans may need to use the ground at the start and end of the Rugby Playing season for League fixtures and play-off games and that Rotherham Town Cricket Club will accommodate this’.”

The announcement effectively means Rotherham Town are unable to honour their fixture this weekend due to the pitch measurement restrictions at Clifton Lane. The significance of the wrangle has been intensified owing to Town being at risk of being relegated from the South Yorkshire Senior League. This weekend was due to be their penultimate game of the season.

Ron Wood, committee member at the club, told The Yorkshire Post that the Titans had employed security personnel at the ground.

“They (Titans) have effectively closed the ground by getting in security,” he said. “I’d expect the umpires will turn up on Saturday and just call it off – what else can they do? It’s just a shame that we couldn’t be accommodated.”

In a statement issued last night, in response to the Titans’ own earlier in the day, the cricket club said: “They (the Titans) claim that all fixtures must be played on Saturdays, which is simply not true as Caldy RFC, who play in the same league as Titans, have two home fixtures on Sunday afternoons during September (including this Sunday). Caldy also share a ground with Caldy Cricket Club.

“The agreement the Titans mentioned is for situations such as this where we’re only too happy to allow the Titans to play matches during our tenure (at the risk of damaging the outfield and square) but at a date that doesn’t interfere with our already scheduled fixtures.

“Our fixtures were set while Titans were still playing their previous season, so they have had the best part of half a year to arrange with their fixtures secretaries a solution to their problem.”