GLOUCESTER has been forced to forfeit Saturday's Lower North Coast Rugby Union match against Manning River Ratz, scheduled for Taree Rugby Park.
"Apparently they only have 10 or 11 players available,'' Ratz coach Jake Maurirere said.
"There's a big junior rugby union carnival on and half of their players have kids involved.''
However, Maurirere confirmed the women's 10s fixture will go ahead as planned. The game will kickoff at 1.45pm.
The forfeit will effectively end Gloucester's slim hopes of making the semi-finals. Gloucester sit in fifth place, three shy of Barbarian Hogs with three rounds remaining before the playoffs. The Cockies have a tough run in with games against third placed Wauchope on September 5 and second placed Wallamba on September 12.
However, Gloucester's women's team will make the semi-finals and will almost certainly meet Saturday's opponent, the Manning Ratz, in the September 19 minor semi.
First grade points: Manning Ratz 31, Wallamba Bulls 26, Wauchope Thunder 25, Barbarian Hogs 15, Gloucester Cockies 12, Old Bar Clams 0.
Women's 10s: Wauchope Thunder 25, Wallamba Bulls 21, Gloucester Cockies 17, Manning River Ratz 12, Old Bar Clams 0.