HELENSBURGH Rugby Club will live to fight another day – and another season – in the Tennent’s West Regional Division Two after Scottish Rugby declared the 2019-20 campaign ‘null and void’.

The Greens had been struggling against relegation to the bottom tier of club rugby in the west of Scotland after a challenging season which included a club record defeat away to Wigtownshire and the deduction of points for failing to fulfil a fixture against Cumnock.

But after the coronavirus crisis led to the postponement of all organised sport in Scotland, and in many other countries around the world, Scottish Rugby announced on Tuesday that the domestic rugby season would be “classified as null and void”.

Similar decisions had already been made by the sport’s governing bodies in Ireland, Wales and Italy.

Helensburgh lay second from bottom in the Division Two standings, with two games to play, when the season ground to a halt last month.

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Scottish Rugby said the decision – which means there will be no automatic promotion or relegation – was reached “following an extensive consultation process involving the participating clubs, the championship and competition committee members and Scottish Rugby’s own rugby development department”.

According to the governing body, around half of all clubs favoured the ‘null and void’ option from five possible scenarios presented, with the remaining clubs split between the other four options.

The second most favoured option – finishing the season based on the league positions at the time of shutdown – received the support of around a quarter of clubs.

Scottish Rugby president Dee Bradbury said: “It was clear from the outset that, in terms of the consequential impact on the various leagues in terms of promotion/relegation there would be no 'right' solution, particularly once it was clear that our preferred option of completing the season would no longer be possible.

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“Every solution we looked at was likely to be problematic in some way – none was likely to be supported by everyone.

“It was therefore considered essential that the full range of options were explored, each potential option was sense checked and that, as far as possible, a broad consensus was reached across the game as to the most appropriate outcome.

“We fully accept some clubs will be disappointed with this decision and share their frustration that, for wider societal reasons beyond our control, their hard work to push for success this season hasn’t yielded the rewards they deserve.”

This week’s announcement comes after Helensburgh’s club president encouraged members to keep in touch with each other during the ‘lockdown’ period after the clubhouse at Ardencaple was closed for the foreseeable future.

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In a statement published on the club’s website, Lee Fish said: “We are a great community club and have an excellent camaraderie.

“Irrespective of the fact that our facilities have closed temporarily, that community is still there.

“I’d like to encourage everyone to stay in touch with one another during this period.

“If you’re in difficulty or need help with something, anything, reach out.

“Let’s look after our wider sporting family and keep our spirits high. We all want to help and ensure that everyone is safe and healthy.”

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