GCA final four query

PURNIM’S finals chances could hinge on a Grassmere Cricket Association tribunal hearing tomorrow night as a paperwork error threatens to re-shape the top four.

The Bulls dropped out of the four on Saturday, replaced by Grassmere, which scored a tense win.

But it has emerged second-placed Killarney fielded a player not listed on its team sheet in the preceding match against Purnim. Killarney won the match by 138 runs but under the association’s rules, a team fielding a player not on the team sheet could lose premiership points or be fined.

Grassmere Cricket Association president James Sinnott said Purnim had protested to the association after the match against Killarney.

He said the association’s executive had investigated the matter and ruled no action would be taken against the Crabs.

Sinnott said the officiating umpires, after becoming aware of the issue during the match, had the player removed from the remainder of the game. “The executive found the result would stand because of the actions by the umpires,” he said.

But Purnim appealed against the decision and it will now be heard by an independent tribunal in Warrnambool tomorrow night.

If Killarney was to be stripped of premiership points from the match against Purnim, its grip on second place on the ladder could be challenged by third-placed Panmure if it achieved an outright win this weekend and Killarney was defeated.

But crucially, if Purnim was awarded a win over Killarney, it would leap-frog Grassmere and return to the four heading into the final round game on Saturday. Instead of being 2.56 points adrift of Grassmere, the Bulls would be 3.44 points ahead of the Meerkats.

Purnim faces reigning premier Panmure on Saturday while Grassmere takes on sixth-placed Hawkesdale, which is out of finals contention. Purnim captain Greg Bull declined to comment.

Killarney skipper Brett Halliwell said he had inadvertently listed the same player twice on the sheet.

“It was just an oversight,” he said. “The tribunal will make its decision.”

grbest@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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