Hull FC had only ten players available for action against the Bulls tonight – after an overturned tanker left at least eight of their squad stranded on the M62.
The accident forced a closure of the motorway, first delaying kick-off before a decision was finally taken at 8pm to postpone the match as several players were still stuck in traffic.
As fans were taking to their seats for the game, the large contingent of West Yorkshire-based Hull players – including the likes of Andy Lynch, Joe Arundel, Tom Briscoe, Joe Westerman and Ben Crooks – were confined to their cars, taking to social media to vent their own frustrations.
Hull FC media and communications manager James Clark said: “We did what we could with the match commissioner and Bradford Bulls, who were all keen to get the game on, but it became clear the match would be unable to go ahead because the players were still stuck.
“We did all we could to put the game on with a delayed kick-off but all parties agreed the match should be put back to Sunday at 3pm and all tickets will be valid for that day.”
Word had initially began to filter through at 6pm of a major accident on the M62 and there was initial talk of the game possibly being delayed.
Having arranged a police escort, the Bradford coach arrived at the KC Stadium just after 7pm and the match was initially moved back to an 8.30pm kick-off and then 9.15pm.
A decision was finally taken to postpone the game, with most of the fans waiting patiently inside the stadium for it to start.
Clark explained: “We only had ten players available fit to play at the stadium. We approached Francis Cummins and the match commissioner.
“Francis Cummins’ words were ‘this is a sport and should be a sporting fixture, and we don’t want to play a team that is under strength’.
“From that point we looked at a delayed kick-off and possibly playing Saturday afternoon.
“But baring in mind this is a shared stadium and Hull City have matches over the next week or so – and there is the catering company to take into account as well – we felt that 3pm on Sunday would be the best.”
Match commissioner Dave Asquith added: “We tried everything humanly possible but Hull’s players were stuck and by 8pm those players were still stuck on the motorway.
“We tried for as late as possible for the kick-off but unfortunately we couldn’t accommodate that. All credit to both clubs for accommodating this.
“Bradford wanted to play the game as much as possible but there is no set ruling on this. It is just a case of common sense.
“You have to look at transport logistics and last buses etc, so 9.15pm was really the latest we could play. It wasn’t to be I’m afraid.”