Lawrence, Clyde out of competition

Clyde-Earnscleugh and Lawrence have withdrawn from their respective Otago Country club competitions.

Both clubs are unable to field a premier side this year because of a lack of players.

Clyde-Earnscleugh struggled last season and only got on the paddock after an injection of players from the Cromwell club, which had a surplus of players.

Club president Jason Crane said to run a side at the premier level, a club had to have a pool of at least 30 players. But at pre-season training, there were fewer than 10 players turning up.

With Cromwell set to field two sides this season, it did not have any spare players to send down the gorge.

Clyde-Earnscleugh was looking to send its players to Matakanui Combined and to have one home game for Matakanui Combined in each round at the Clyde Domain.

Crane said it was tough for the club and hard on its loyal supporters but there was no other option. The club had withdrawn from the Central Otago competition in 2015 but had come back the following year.

Crane said the side was looking towards next year . One option was to look at getting some overseas players and also dragging more players to the club from the district.

The Clyde club started in 1889 and amalgamated with Earnscleugh in the late 1920s. It went into recess because of World War 2 but started again in 1947.

Otago Country board chairman Bob Perriam said it was disappointing Clyde-Earnscleugh had to withdraw but clubs had to be realistic with player numbers.

The withdrawal of Clyde-Earnscleugh would not hurt the structure of the Central Otago competition as Cromwell was to have two teams. There was a hope Upper Clutha, based in Wanaka, would have enough for two teams in the top grade but it just did not quite have enough.

Lawrence also cited a serious lack of players as its reason for pulling out of the South Otago competition.

In a social media post, Stuart Cotton, who would have coached the team, described it as an "agonising decision".

"Firstly, of the 28 players that took the field for us last year, 20 aren't available for various reasons ... so that leaves us with eight, two of whom are injured with broken bones and two who aren't available for all games because of work commitments," he wrote.

"That leaves four fit available players. Add on the eight that have we have picked up this year, that's 12 players available for the season as it stands right now.'

"As a club are extremely gutted we can't field a team as it affects our local community and the rugby community as a whole.

"We will be trying our hardest to get a team back on the field next season."

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