Otley Rugby Union Football Club secretary Marc Lawrence says that some national and local media outlets have jumped the gun in stating that the Cross Greeners have been deducted five league points for fielding an ineligible player.

Alexander Beaumont played against Harrogate on Saturday, December 21 when he was still registered with Northumberland & Durham Division Two side Whitby.

The SSE National League Two North club appealed against the original points deduction, as they feel the RFU have some culpability in the matter due to failing to reply to Otley’s communications, and that hearing took place at Stourbridge on Tuesday, January 28.

Lawrence said: “Some national and local media outlets are saying that we have already been deducted five league points but we have still had no official notification from the National Clubs’ Association (NCA).

“I e-mailed Brian Vincent, who I understand is part of the NCA appeals panel, on Tuesday morning to make him aware of what the media were saying and that we still have had no official notification.

“But were the appeal decision to go against us, I think we have a case for appealing to the RFU as the original appeal was heard by the NCA.

“Bristol were deducted one point (for failing to take a player off when scrums went to uncontested), so why have we been deducted as many as five when we feel the RFU should take some of the blame?

“If it were a three-point deduction, I think we would be happy.”

Were the worst to happen and Otley lose five points, taking them down to 32 points and dropping them a place to 12th, they would only be six points above third-from-bottom Sheffield Tigers, who are in the highest demotion berth.

Fortunately, Otley defeated fourth-placed Sedgley Park 14-12 at Cross Green last Saturday, which Lawrence rightly called “an excellent win”.

He added: “Now we must beat Sheffield Tigers away on Saturday, February 22.”

On Saturday, Otley face former player Guy Ford at fifth-placed Chester.