WDCA semi-final teams in limbo as error ruling drags on

UNCERTAINTY lingers over the make-up of Warrnambool and District Cricket Association division one semi-finals as a team sheet error saga drags into its second week.

In a dramatic end to the regular season on Saturday, third-placed Woodford upset Hopkins conference ladder-leader Merrivale, while second-placed Allansford was beaten by out-of-contention Russells Creek. 

The results elevated Woodford to second and a semi-final berth, but Creek’s impressive win remains clouded because it fielded a player not listed on the team sheet. Allansford last week lodged written complaints to the association over the team sheet error, which had former cricketer of the year Jayaweera Bandara listed as playing instead of teenager Jack Ansell. 

Late yesterday, officials had not yet met to decide what, if any, action would be taken.

Association general manager Michael Harrison said Allansford had until tomorrow to protest the result.

Allansford captain Kyall Timms said as far as he was concerned his side’s season was over. But he was unhappy the uncertainty over the team sheet error had been allowed to drag on.

“I don’t want to make the finals on this note,” Timms said.

“Russells Creek didn’t mean to do it but they did. 

“It’s black or white. There needs to be a decision.

“I’m disappointed with the way the league has handled it.”

Timms said he couldn’t understand why the association was waiting on his club when it had lodged its written complaint after play last Saturday.

He said Creek had outplayed the Gators in the must-win game at Jetty Flat. Chasing 210 for victory, Creek’s bowlers strangled Allansford’s strong batting line-up, dismissing it for 152 in 79.1 overs.

“We don’t deserve to go into the finals because we didn’t win. Russells Creek beat us, they played very well,” Timms said.

“We wound up last night (Saturday) thinking we are done. Woodford beat Merrivale so they deserve to be in there.”

Clouding the issue is the absence of a set penalty for a team sheet error. 

The association has said its match committee would rule on the issue. 

Last season Merrivale was fined for playing a player not listed on the team sheet but it was allowed to retain its match points.

Woodford coach John Houston is worried the match committee could strip Creek of the win and award outright points to Allansford, killing its semi-final aspirations. 

If the result of the match stands, Woodford will face Merri conference leader West Warrnambool at Jetty Flat on Saturday and Merrivale will clash with Merri conference second-placegetter Dennington at Allansford.

The drama extended beyond the team sheet saga on Saturday when the previously unbeaten West Warrnambool was skittled for just 71 as it was humbled by last season’s grand finalist Dennington. 

With the Dogs taking the win, across the city at Walter Oval, Wesley-CBC made a bold bid for an outright victory that would have seen it displace Dennington.

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