Bulldogs title under threat

A small sheet of paper, scribbled with the names of about a dozen cricketers, could save Panmure Bulldogs’ Grassmere cricket one-day premiership.

The Bulldogs are at risk of losing the title — and their spot in the inter-association Sungold Cup — after allegedly fielding two ineligible players against Killarney on Sunday.

MyCricket website records show Simon Bourke had only played once this season before lining up in the final, while Simon Schrama had not played.

Cricketers must have played three matches to be eligible for the one-day final.

Bourke took 2-16 and Schrama took a catch and saved “15 or 20 runs fielding in the deep” in the Crabs’ innings of 6-154 at Purnim.

The Bulldogs passed the total five wickets down in the second-last over, although Bourke and Schrama did not bat.

Grassmere Cricket Association officials yesterday confirmed they had launched an investigation into the matter.

President James Sinnott said Panmure officials were hunting down a team sheet which would prove Bourke had played three matches before Sunday.

“Panmure are claiming he’s played three. We’re still searching for that (evidence) now — hard copies of the team sheets handed in prior to the games.

“We’re still yet to go through that data. No one likes to have to do this to a side that’s already won.”

Sinnott said GCA officials became aware Bourke and Schrama were allegedly ineligible at the 30-over mark of Killarney’s innings.

“It was an uneasy feeling for all the executive. It spoilt the enjoyment of the game even though it was so hard-fought,” he said.

Panmure could lose its title — and berth in the $15,000-to-win Sungold Cup — if the association found it guilty of the rule breach.

But any penalty would be dependant on the severity of the breach — and that is why Bourke’s eligibility is crucial to the case.

The investigation would centre on Schrama if Panmure could prove Bourke was clear to play.

And if Schrama — who had limited influence on the match -—was the only ineligible player, the Bulldogs could escape with a fine and retain their title..

Sinnott said Killarney lodged a complaint on Monday night. He said the association could deliver a verdict as early as today.

“If they had not have lodged the appeal within seven days the executive would have looked at it anyway,” he said.

“We haven’t come up with any decision about what we’re going to do. There’s nothing in the rules that says stripping them of their title is the appropriate course of action.

“What we have to determine is how many players and what influence they had on the game.

“That is where the investigation is at the moment.”

Panmure Bulldogs captain Nathan Shand was unavailable for comment yesterday.

But Killarney captain Brett Halliwell called for the Bulldogs to lose their title if found guilty. 

He said the association should hand down the same penalty regardless of whether one or both players were ineligible.

“He (Schrama) saved 15 or 20 runs fielding in the deep, he’s a gun fielder — that’s something,” he said.

“Where do you draw the line? Interesting times.

“The GCA have got the rules there in place. If someone breaks them, you expect them to pay the price.

“I’ll be guided by what the league does. We’ll work with them and hopefully we can get a result.”

afawkes@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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