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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

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Ref forced to call Cumbria rugby cup final off after brawl

An amateur rugby league final was abandoned after a brawl erupted between a player and spectator.

The Dale Campbell-Savours Cup final between Kells A and Flimby was stopped just as the second half got underway in front of a 400-strong crowd at Lowca.

Referee David Askew halted the match on health and safety grounds, fearing the incident would escalate.

Eyewitnesses said they saw a Kells player hit on the head by a beer can which was hurled at him, prompting him to confront a spectator, thought to be a supporter of the opposing team.

Other supporters joined in and a brawl developed.

Kells head coach Peter Smith said: “I was at the game and there appeared to be a lot of abuse directed towards a certain player. You can only take so much.

“There was nothing that went on in the game that was physically dirty.

“A bit of bad language started up and there were women and children at the game. It was a good day until this happened.”

The Cumberland ARL management committee will meet on Monday to hear evidence about the incident.

Roger Blair, chairman of Cumberland ARL, said: “We intend to sit down with all parties as soon as possible and discuss what the referee and touch judges have reported.”

Kells A were leading Flimby 22-10 when the match was halted.

An ex-player who was at the final but declined to be name said: “It was the worst thing I have seen in 40 years of involvement with amateur rugby league.

“The referee had no other choice other than to call a halt.”

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