EVEN the best efforts of Newcastle Falcons’ supporters, players and staff members were not enough to avoid tomorrow’s home game with Cornish Pirates falling victim to the weather.
After two days of snow-shovelling and a remarkable turnout from volunteers, an official pitch inspection yesterday brought the news the club had been dreading.
It had always seemed a losing battle, even when snow-shovels and wheelbarrows revealed the Kingston Park playing surface to be soft underneath its dense blanket of white.
The community spirit and feelgood factor of their manual exertions may have warmed the soul of those who gave their time and energy so freely, but the temperatures failed to match as forecasts of well below zero played their part in the decision.
The sheer volume of snow, combined with the predicted frosts, were enough to call time on a fixture which marks the longest round trip of any professional sporting team in mainland England - 968 miles, to be exact.
It seemed more in hope than expectation that their director of rugby Dean Richards, himself not averse to a dash of hard yakka, joined the throng of supporters manning the wheelbarrows, before explaining to the media how he hoped they could tame the elements.
"Hopefully this weather will not beat us, and I can assure you it won't be through lack of effort if it does," he said, less than three hours before the news filtered down from the RFU.
"The effort and willingness of everybody to come down and help us has been absolutely outstanding.”
Tomorrow's postponement is the second successive game to have fallen victim to the elements – last Saturday's British and Irish Cup tie beaten by the snow in South Wales.
That game will now be played a week tomorrow after a swift rescheduling, although no date has yet been confirmed for the Cornish Pirates' visit. Attention will now turn towards England Saxons' encounter with Scotland A, due to be held at Kingston Park in eight days' time.
With the prospects of a new date for that fixture almost non-existent due to the limitations of the international window, another cancellation is the last thing the Falcons need.