Aston anger at semi-final venue

Mark Aston says parts of the pitch are dangerous
Mark Aston says parts of the pitch are dangerous

Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston has hit out at the decision to play the Northern Rail Cup semi-final at Doncaster Athletics Stadium.

Aston fears the pitch has areas that could put the players at risk of serious injury.

The game against Doncaster was moved to the ground, which is next to the Keepmoat, because that stadium is not available.

The venue has been approved by the Rugby Football League but Aston said: “It’s a semi-final and we’re playing on a park field!

“I’m disappointed because the Keepmoat is a fitting stage for a semi-final of a trophy and to take it away and play it next door at the athletics track is a bit disrespectful to the competition.”

“We have to do what we have to do, it’s been sanctioned. There are areas on that pitch that I have flagged up that I think are potential leg breakers.

“If we walk off there with a serious injury I’ll be asking questions.”

The game on Friday night is the highest profile clash between the South Yorkshire clubs for several seasons.

It will see one of them gain a place in the final of the Cup competition for professional clubs outside the Super League.

Aston added: “We’ve never been to a Rail Cup final and we’ll go to Doncaster positive, we want win and make the final.

“There’s nothing I can do (about the venue) we’ve been here before.

“People say: ‘You’re always moaning Mark, always whingeing’.”

Doncaster were determined to play the game as close as possible to the Keepmoat which is unavailable because of work on the pitch.

The Athletics venue is next to the main stadium and has a capacity of 2,500 with seats for around 500 in the single stand.

Dons’ commercial manager Ray Green said on the club’s website that the “athletics pitch is in great condition and is looked after by the Keepmoat staff.”

He added: “We appreciate that our fans have had to travel away to watch all of our cup games in 2013 and we certainly did not want to give up home advantage in a game as big as this.”

He added: “It should be a cracking South Yorkshire derby and I believe the athletics stadium will prove to be more than a suitable venue.”

Aston has no injury probles after the Eagles 14-8 win at Batley that kept them at the top of the Championship and extends their winning run in all competitions to 13 games.