Having been forced to concede last Saturday’s game away at Holt, Newmarket RUFC are hoping that it does not become a regular occurrence.
Injuries, work commitments and general unavailability meant Newmarket were unable to fulfil their London League Division Three fixture in Norfolk, though a limited number of players still made the trip to contest a friendly.
That prevented the Scaltback side from being hit with a points penalty, but it is nonetheless a worrying time for the club.
Player-chairman Harvey Bell said: “I have been playing for the club for four or five seasons and this is the first time I can remember us ever having to do this.
“There is no finger pointing at anyone, it is just a disappointing thing to have to do.
“It was not an easy phone call to have to make, but I was glad we could still make the journey and give some of the players some valuable game time.
“We avoided a points penalty because a match was still played which is good, but the whole thing was far from ideal.”
It is a situation far from unique to Newmarket as plenty of clubs in the area struggle to put out a full 15 every weekend.
Times have changed and where once people tended to work Monday through to Friday, 9am-5pm, many now work at weekends or opt to spend time with family.
Newmarket are planning to promote from within in their bid to combat the ongoing problem, yet the door remains open for players of all ages.
“Our colts section regrouped in the summer and that is now fully in place,” added Bell.
“That will provide a pathway through to the first team and that, a lot of the time, is the best way to bring in new players.
“But we are also an inclusive club. From players that are unhappy at other clubs to someone that has not played for a long while, we are keen to accommodate everyone.
“We have a good coaching set-up, are looking to improve the facilities in time and are a very social club.”
Newmarket are without a fixture this weekend, with their return to action scheduled against Southwold at home on January 27 (2pm).