Clubs thought to favour four-point bye

If you have an odd number of teams and an odd number of rounds, you always have an odd one out.

Kaikorai is that odd one out.

Organising the premier grade has been a bigger challenge than usual this season.

Last year, it was relatively straightforward. The nine teams played 16 round-robin games across 18 weeks. They had two byes each. All was well.

But this season the round-robin phase has been trimmed by a week in order to squeeze the competition into the available window.

That means one round of games has to be trimmed from the draw. And the round which got clipped was the week Kaikorai was scheduled to have one of its byes.

The upshot is Kaikorai will play 16 round-robin games in 17 weeks and the other eight teams will play 15 games in 17 weeks.

It is uneven and messy and finding a solution has caused a few headaches for the organisers.

Essentially, Kaikorai is playing for a maximum of 80 points, while everyone else is playing for 75 points.

To balance the competition the clubs initially voted 5-4 for double points in round 10 - the round Kaikorai is scheduled for its only bye.

But one of the club delegates voted the wrong way, following a communication mix up. The vote was reversed and proposed solution was defeated.

The preferred option now appears to award four points for a bye. A decision is expected to be reached next week.

However, the Otago Daily Times understands the clubs reached a consensus at a meeting earlier this week and are expected to have voted for four points for a bye.

The competition gets under way on March 22. It is a Friday night game and Green Island is hosting Alhambra-Union under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

The format for the playoffs is the same as last year. The highest ranked team will play the fourth-ranked side in one semifinal, and two will play three in the other semi.

The winners will progress to the final, which is scheduled for July 27.

Last year, Harbour and University had to share the title, after the scores were locked 30-30 after 100 minutes of rugby.

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