Clock causes chaos as Bath sink Newcastle

Newcastle director of rugby Steve Bates refused to criticise the officials after his side’s 17-13 defeat against Bath on Sunday ended in chaos due to a time-keeping error.

With Newcastle pressing for the try that would have handed them a crucial win, referee John Paul Doyle blew for full-time with one minute and eight seconds still left on the scoreboard at Kingston Park.

Newcastle’s players were furious at the apparent mistake and pointed to the clock as they protested.

But Doyle waved them off the pitch and Bates and his Bath counterpart Steve Meehan revealed after the match that they were informed by the fourth official that the clock had been stopped for a minute in error and that the referee would blow the final whistle earlier than the official timing indicated.

“At some point in the second half the stadium clock wasn’t running for about a minute, and Rob Debney the fourth official noticed a discrepancy between his own official time and the stadium clock,” Bates told Newcastle’s official website.

“The fourth official relayed that information to the referee, who told the teams that was the case, but when you get to that last period of the game 15 seconds here or there is going to be crucial.

“In fairness it’s an innocent mistake, the players were told out on the field and we’re certainly not going to make a song and dance about it.”

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