HADDINGTON and North Berwick RFC have described the decision taken by Scottish Rugby to declare the season null and void as the “fairest” option.

Both sides were in contention for promotion when the coronavirus outbreak brought the sport to a halt across the country.

Haddington sat top of East League Division One and looked on course for an immediate return to the national leagues.

Meanwhile, North Berwick had topped East League Division Two until a series of postponements.

With games in hand, there was still a good chance they could gain promotion.

However, neither team will find out if they would have won their league, with the campaign consigned to the history books.

Kieran Cooney, who announced last week he was stepping down as head coach at Haddington, felt the correct decision had been made.

He said: “It is probably the fairest thing to do and follows on from the Irish and Welsh counterparts and what they have done.

“With everything that has been going on, it would be too difficult to justify playing out the season.

“In my view, it is the fairest thing for all parties, although I know a couple of clubs are going to feel a bit aggrieved.”

Cooney stressed there were more important things going on in society than sport and felt the club was on the right track.

He noted the success of an increasing number of local youngsters breaking through into the first team.

The departing head coach was hopeful the cancellation of the season would spur the team on to cross the finishing line in the new season, with a kick-off date unknown.

North Berwick had finished their season with a flourish after a lengthy period of inactivity over the festive period.

The Recreation Park side did not play between December 15 and March 6 before picking up an 82-7 win over Penicuik and an 84-0 win over Livingston.

However, with the remaining four games cancelled, they never had the chance to return to the top of the table.

Iain Dove, North Berwick RFC president, said: “We discussed it as a club and we voted for it to be null and void. I don’t see how you could do it any other way.

“It would be unfair on the other teams and it was difficult circumstances for the SRU (Scottish Rugby Union) and everybody.”

Mr Dove was hopeful the team, who would have won the league if they won their games in hand, would once again be in contention for promotion when the new season got under way.

He added: “It would not have felt right if they made the decision on average points or one of the other options put forward. None of them seemed right.”