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Royston Could Face League Punishment

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Paul Attfield’s refusal to send his players back out for the resumption of Saturday’s Evo-Stik League Southern….

…..Division One Central match after Rugby Town skipper Robbie Banks broke his leg with 24 minutes remaining may prove costly as the league consider what action to take.

Royston could face punishment for failing to fulfil the home fixture, but Crows boss Attfield has no regrets about his decision as he was adamant his course of action was right.

“At the time I didn’t give it much consideration, I was more concerned about the players,” he said.

“The league could look at the state of the game and our refusal to play it, and award Rugby the points. Or they could order the game be replayed. There were still 23 minutes to go, which is quite a lot of time.

“They have surely got to take our side into consideration. You cannot expect players to go back on the pitch and play an intense game of football after being involved in and seeing such a horrific injury. It’s not logical and just not right.”

Royston were losing 1-0 and were down to ten-men following Jason Beck’s 40th minute dismissal when Banks broke his leg in a tackle with Carl Edwards.

“It was a completely freakish injury and the players knew straight away it was bad,” said Attfield.

“Three of my players turned away with their heads in their hands and Carl was obviously shaken up, having made the tackle.”

It was 30 minutes before Banks was moved from the pitch and taken to hospital. Having spoken to his players in the dressing room, Attfield was certain they were in no state to return to the pitch.

“I refused to continue playing because it was obvious the players were not mentally capable of continuing the game,” he said.

“Rugby were happy to carry on but I spoke to my players and took the decision on their behalf. I did ask the referee to consider calling the game off but he wanted to continue.”

Rugby manager Dave Stringer described Royston’s decision to not continue “a low and despicable act”.

He said: “If I’m honest, I was disgusted with what happened at the end of the game. We didn’t want the game abandoned – the player who had the injury did not want the game abandoned.

“They said they were too traumatised to continue, but would they have been traumatised if they had been winning?

“Surely my players would be the ones who were traumatised – they’ve known Robbie for years?”

However, Attfield added: “People may think we were trying to get the game called off because we were down to ten-men and losing, but that wasn’t the case at all.

“I’ve known my players for a long time and some of them were in a bad state, as you’d expect after seeing an injury like that.”

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About Author

Former Swansea City and Kettering Town defender who has been managing the likes of Kettering Town u18s, Rothwell Town, Desborough Town and Wellingborough Town for 33 years as well as being technical director at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Began in non-League journalism as editor of Team Talk magazine back in the early 1990s and then as editor of Non-League Daily, joining Pitchero to set up Pitchero Non-League in January 2011. Also works for the National League.

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