Hawke's Bay age-group softball team coach Paul Woon was a shattered man last night.
Woon learned his Hastings Boys' High School team won't be travelling to next week's national division one secondary schools tournament in Lower Hutt. School principal Rob Sturch has withdrawn the team because half of the squad had not met the payment deadline.
"We have been flexible with payments in the past but that's no longer the case. When you book accommodation and travel those costs are non refundable," Sturch explained.
He pointed out sports trips are subsidised 60 per cent by the school and the school's director of sport Chris Pollock recommended the no-tolerance policy on late payments which he supported.
"This is our best chance for several years to win the country's top secondary school boys' title. This was also to be the final tournament for at least five of our boys who are all year 13 players," Woon said.
Three of the Hastings Boys' High School players, Woon's son and pitcher Adam Woon, catcher Jacob Zurcher and outfielder Dallas Brown are all members of the Junior Black Sox training squad. Next week's tournament was to be a key opportunity for them to enhance their chances of selection for next year's Junior World Series in the US.
"Softball has won more national titles for the school than all the other codes put together but it looks like we won't be able to add to that next week. With us not going, Hawke's Bay won't be represented at the tournament," Woon lamented.
"Hawke's Bay hosts the tournament next year and this was also going to be an opportunity for us to blood some younger players at this level so they knew what to expect on home turf next year," he added.
Under Hawke's Bay's most successful age group coach, Tom Makea snr, HBHS won four national division one titles. Woon has guided HBHS teams to one national junior boys title, first and second placings at national division two level and a sixth with a young team at the 2013 division one tournament.
The majority of the players in the 2013 squad were available for next week's event.
Woon understood his players had to pay their school donation of $95 plus $240 for the trip.
When asked if those players who had yet to pay turned up this morning with their money would the team be able to travel Sturch replied:
"No. That would be too late ... rules are rules and deadlines are deadlines."
"I know how successful our softball teams have been. I've been to some of the tournaments," he added.