THE Fernhill Tavern Boardriders have quit the Hastings League competition for the second straight season.
Once again, they could not guarantee enough players to be able to fulfil their commitments for 2014.
As a result it looks like the end to this historic rugby league club.
"We had the bare skeleton of a squad but had there been injuries we would have been facing the prospect of forfeiting games," Boardies president Malcolm Andrews said.
"This, in turn, would have meant incurring fines that would have sent us to the wall."
Andrews said it was a distressing decision for both the players and the hard-working committee but it had to be made before the club went searching for sponsorships.
"We would have been acting without due diligence had we approached potential sponsors knowing there was a chance that the club could fold," he said.
Andrews said the whole, sad affair raised some interesting questions concerning the sport about which, as a journalist, he has written for the past half-century.
"There were stories about many players not willing to commit to the Boardies until they saw what other offers were available," he said.
"But the Hastings League is run as an amateur competition, so how could there be any better offer than to play for the love of the game alone?
"There is a provision for a nominal amount of money to help offset the cost of getting to away games. However, this should be about the same amount, no matter for which club you play.
"And there is certainly no proviso for petrol money to be paid for home games!"
Andrews also pointed out the changing lifestyle of the Hastings.
"A generation or so ago a young man's winter weekends revolved around the footy - and by footy I mean rugby league," he said.
"Today there are so many teams from all four football codes from which to choose. Union has a couple of clubs ? Then there is soccer and Aussie rules.
"And with better roads young blokes want to jump into their cars with their wives and girlfriends and head off to a show in Sydney or Newcastle. Or you can become a couch potato with so many sporting channels on television.
"How can an amateur Hastings League compete with that?"