BRADFORD & Bingley's North One East match against Malton & Norton on Saturday was postponed - not because of the coronavirus but because of a much more familiar reason of the aftermath of flooding.

The first-team pitch at Wagon Lane has been under water for a month but there was a chance that the game would go ahead on the second-team pitch across the river at Aire View.

However, local referee Nick Leadbeater (West Yorkshire Society) inspected the pitch at 5pm on Friday and ruled it unplayable for player safety reasons.

Bees rugby chairman Chris Hemsley said: "Groundsman John Fletcher, who reckoned that it would take 40 man hours to get the pitch fit, and his helpers have made great efforts, such as using a sweeper to remove twigs and branches etc, while the juniors have removed some of the other debris.

"There is no standing water on it, but there is still a lot of debris on it which needed moving, and Nick Leadbeater deemed it unsafe from a player welfare point of view.

"We were flooded for three successive weekends and we haven't been able to get working parties on the pitches because the floodlights are out of action so we have only been able to do things during the day when a lot of people are working.

"The juniors have had to move their matches to Dixons Cottingley Academy or Eldwick Primary School just to keep their season going."

The first-team pitch at Wagon Lane is in a worse state than Aire View but there will be chance for it to recover now that all rugby union games have been banned until next month due to the coronavirus.

Hemsley said: "It is still underwater near the changing rooms from the dead-ball line to the 22 and we won't know what damage has been caused until that subsides.

"We have had issues with the sump and various other things."

The Bees used Keighley's artificial pitch for the last home game, where they played well and beat Morley 47-24 on February 29.

However, as Bees coach Hugh Gumbs explained: "We had more time to plan that, and if we had kicked off at Keighley at 11am it would have been unfair on Malton & Norton setting off at 8am.

"There was also a 5pm slot available but I would have had half a team available for the early kick-off and half a team available for the late kick-off."

Malton & Norton's fixture secretary Chris Wilson admitted: "Neither kick-off time at Keighley would have been ideal for us."

Ironically, Bradford & Bingley's second team did play at Rose Cottage on Saturday at 3pm against Keighley's second team, with the visitors winning 29-17.

Gumbs added: "That is Keighley's slot and it was our second team's first match for three weeks.

"Some of our first-team squad are working, some of their partners have just had babies and some are going to Brett Mitchell's stag do.

"I wouldn't have had a front row and it would have been unfair on someone like prop Andy Smith, who is over 40, to play in successive matches - for the second team and the first team."

Gumbs revealed: "Our players, and Keighley RUFC, where we have been training, have been great through all of the upheaval.

"Never once have my players complained about trying to find somewhere to train - our gym is only just back in action - or the extra travelling involved.

"For example, Cameron Bainbridge is studying at York and comes down to Keighley by train, but Wagon Lane is our home pitch and that is where we want to play."