ALLANSFORD will launch an 11th-hour bid for a semi-final berth at a Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) tribunal hearing tonight as the team sheet error saga takes a new twist.
In what is shaping as a marathon sitting of the tribunal, both Allansford and Russells Creek are appealing against a ruling that stripped Creek of its win over the Gators on Saturday.
But those clubs will have to wait patiently tonight, with defending premier Merrivale having its own tribunal appointment.
Merrivale veteran Matthew Wilkinson has been charged with breaching the spirit of cricket rule after allegedly excessively sledging Woodford skipper John Houston on the opening day of their final round match on March 1.
Wilkinson faces a suspension if found guilty, throwing doubt over his finals participation. His case is scheduled to open proceedings at 6.30pm, followed by Creek and Allansford’s appeals.
The appeals are the result of Russells Creek inadvertently leaving a player’s name off the team sheet on the opening day of its game against Allansford on March 1.
Creek brought the oversight to the umpires’ attention midway through the first day’s play. The association last week sought advice from Cricket Victoria about whether that player could continue playing and ruled the match should proceed as normal last Saturday.
Creek, which went on to score a 57-run win, was on Monday stripped of its premiership points and fined $250, prompting it to appeal against the severity of the penalty.
The match committee ruled no points would be awarded for the match.
Allansford yesterday afternoon lodged its grievance with the association, arguing if Creek were stripped of the win, then it should have been awarded the points.
If it did receive the points, Allansford could climb from third to second on the Hopkins conference ladder and claim a semi-final berth against West Warrnambool on Saturday.
Allansford’s decision to appeal against the match committee ruling and seek the win has again cast doubt over Woodford’s place in the semi-final against West Warrnambool.
Allansford co-coach Stephen Blacker said his side should have received the points because Creek played an ineligible player.
“We either won or lost, you can’t be half pregnant,” Blacker said.
“We should be receiving the first-innings points. You can’t have half a decision.”
He said the match committee’s ruling set a bad precedent by not awarding any points.
He said clubs in future could use the decision to manipulate results by playing an unlisted player to ensure a rival received no points.
“The nature of sport is there is a winner and loser. It was either an illegal result or legal result,” Blacker said.
Woodford skipper John Houston said he had expected Allansford to protest against the ruling.
“We can’t do anything about it,” he said. “I just have to accept the umpire’s decision ... I thought the umpire’s decision was made. We are playing cricket until we are told something different.”
Woodford trained last night as normal while Allansford has scheduled training on Thursday in keeping with its routine in case it wins the appeal and finds itself in a cut-throat semi-final.