DESPITE a clear breach of Mitchell Cricket Council (MCC) rules, Mudgee will go unpunished for fielding an over-age player in its round one under 21 clash with Lithgow.
Orange was originally thought to have won the MCC under 21 minor premiership, and earned a home semi-final, however after a recalculation and confirmation of results Mudgee leapfrogged the Bluebag colts into first, despite the breach.
Orange will now travel to Mudgee for the major semi-final on February 23.
Lithgow District Cricket Association (LDCA) lodged a complaint with MCC after round one, saying Mudgee had fielded an over-age player in fast bowler Brad James.
Mudgee won the match, and James snared 6-25 in 7.5 overs.
Under MCC rules, players must be 20 years or under on September 30 to be eligible for under 21 cricket in that upcoming season.
Reportedly, Mudgee District Cricket Association (MDCA) was under the impression James was 20 on September 30, 2013, deeming him eligible, as his registration form stated his birth year as 1993. James was actually born in 1992.
The MCC disciplinary, disputes and protest (DPP) committee determined MDCA had acted appropriately by standing James down from under 21s, and providing necessary documentation immediately after the issue was raised, meaning no punishment is necessary.
“We can’t exclude him from opens cricket,” MDCA secretary Phil English said.
“It has been an ongoing discussion between the associations and I can understand their [Lithgow’s] concerns. Mudgee District Cricket Association has acted transparently with Mitchell. We provided his registration paper and other documentation immediately.
“We want the whole competition to be on even grounds and we do appreciate Lithgow’s concerns, but we can’t do any more than what we have already done.”
“We want the whole competition to be on even grounds and we do appreciate Lithgow’s concerns, but we can’t do any more than what we have already done"
English went on to say Mudgee is looking into some sort of safeguard to eliminate the potential for this situation in the future.
As a result Orange will travel to Mudgee for the major semi-final, instead of the other way around.
In an email to MCC, LDCA president Dan Whitty, Mudgee under 21s manager Terry Ford and LDCA’s Neil Hutchinson wrote the LDCA was “perplexed at the decision of the DDP committee in arriving at the conclusion that Mr Brad James didn’t influence the result” of the game.
Hutchinson went on to write:
“Lithgow Association truely believe that any player that takes six wickets in a match where only a modest amount of runs was the difference between the two teams, then surely one would say, yes, that player has been the difference and the predictability of the game would be conclusive.”
MCC’s DDP disagreed, saying the outcome of the match would have been unpredictable whether James played or not.
“The issue was brought up and Mudgee stood the player down from any further [under 21] representative duties until he could provide evidence of his age, which he hasn’t. As far as I am concerned it is the end of the story,” MCC secretary Carl Sharpe said.
Any punishment would only affect Orange and Mudgee, as Bathurst and Lithgow would remain in third and fourth respectively regardless.