Two netball teams from a Newcastle school have been thrown out of National Finals after they accidentally paid 10 pence too little for their membership fees.
The girls of Central Newcastle High School were thrilled recently when both their U16 and U18 teams qualified for the championship.
But when their details were sent off to England Netball as the regional champions, the pen-pushers in the administrative organisation told them that they had been disqualified.
The reason? The £10,500-a-year private school had underpaid their annual subs by a piffling amount the previous year, accidentally submitting £24 instead of £24.10.
Yet rather than chase the school up for the difference or write it off as an inconsequential error, England Netball simply said nothing, crossed the school off their list of affiliated teams, put them on a debtors' list, and did not even invite them to join the organisation the next year.
The school office didn't even notice that they hadn't been sent an invoice for the 2012-13 season, and the error only came to light when the two teams qualified for the sport's end-of-season showcase for school teams.
When their details were sent off to England Netball to be included in the roster of teams at the National Finals, they were informed that they had been disqualified from all competition as they were not affiliated.
The team's coach, head of PE Jackie Anderson, was outraged.
"We accept we were in the wrong, we accept that we didn't pay – but it's still infuriating that they didn't invoice us to pay," she told ITV.
"We've never not paid in 20 years so there was no reason to doubt our ability or willingness to pay.
"But at the end of the day these girls are suffering, and these girls don't deserve to suffer."
England Netball had close ties with the school, holding several tournaments there and giving them an award in 2010 to recognise their achievements, and headmistress Hilary French was furious.
"It all seems very petty to me," she said. "We have always paid our subscriptions for all the different sports played here.
'"We weren't made aware of the small underpayment and we didn't get any further bills - either about the 10p or the fee for affiliation to England Netball the next year.
"Our PE teachers are some of the busiest staff in the school and because they didn't receive a bill, the payment was not made. We made a mistake and we did everything we could to rectify it immediately.
"All of this has happened because of an unpaid 10p. The girls are very upset - they've trained a lot and they reached the finals."
England Netball were unapologetic in a statement.
"England Netball has eligibility criteria for its National Schools Competition; this includes schools responsibility to affiliate to England Netball prior to the start of the competition.
"Central Newcastle High School failed to affiliate to in accordance with these time scales and therefore it is with much regret that England Netball was unable to accept their entry into the National Schools Final.
"All other entrants to the National Schools Final adhered to England Netball's affiliation process."