by Gary Caffell
A paucity of players has led to Masterton Red Star withdrawing from the Wairarapa-Bush premier division rugby competition for the 2013 season.
Club president Peter Semmens said the decision came after many of their last year’s line-up indicated they had either retired or would be playing elsewhere this time round.
Among the missing were experienced campaigners, and Wairarapa-Bush representatives, Chris Senior and Heemi Tupaea, while five of the senior squad’s younger players are now working in Australia.
“It was touch and go. We were close to having enough players to carry on but not quite close enough,” Semmens said. “We didn’t want to create a situation where every week we were struggling to make up the numbers, and that’s where we were heading. In the end we had to be realistic. We had enough forwards to carry on but not nearly enough backs. It was a no-go.”
Semmens said the club’s committee had kept those players still keen to be part of their senior team fully informed of their discussions and had also been supportive of them joining other clubs to continue their careers in the top grade if that was what they wanted.
“We certainly don’t want to hold any of our players back, in fact just the opposite. If they would like to keep playing premier division rugby we are encouraging them to do so.”
Semmens is optimistic the latest turn of events will be a “oncer” and that Masterton Red Star will be back in the premier division fold in 2014.
And he has history on his side. A similar situation causing the club to withdraw their senior A side in 2008 and then returning to win the championship the following year.
Semmens was also keen to enforce the message it was “business as usual” for other teams operating under the Masterton Red Star banner in 2013, with a senior reserves side and at least nine or 10 JAB teams ensuring they were still strongly represented on the domestic front.