as reported in the Oxford Mail
Bletchington Nondescripts 3rd have been stripped of the Oxford Times Cherwell
League Division 7 title and promotion after being deducted points for playing an
top of the provisional final table published at the end of the season.
But the league
ruled that they played an ineligible player in the penultimate round of matches
when Nondies beat Banbury 3rd by 81 runs in what was effectively a title
As a result,
RIGHT - Lets give the facts for you to decide.
A player had played 8 1st eleven matches and 8 second eleven
matches in the season and on the penultimate match played for the 3rd
Rule 21 states and is written:
Any first XI player who has not played 2nd / 3rd eleven cricket twice in
the first 16 weeks of the season, will not be eligible to play for a 2nd /
3rd XI in either of the last two matches.
The league decision, which the club have no right of appeal, was to
communicate that the players was ineligible due to that he had not played
two third eleven games in the previous sixteen weeks.
So why do we feel that the league has failed to deliver the correct
decision. The actual reading of the rule and applying a general common
sense view the most logical conclusion would be that he is eligible. He had
played eight second team games in the proceeding sixteen weeks while on
reflection there is also the grey area as to whether the player can
actually be classified as a first eleven player.
The league, although having not officially communicated their position,
claim that we should have known how they wished the rule to be applied. We
counter that by saying if the proper construction of the rule is "x", but
the league intended "y", then a side shouldn't be penalized for complying
with "x". Otherwise you end with the situation where no one really knows
what the rules are, because they do not know what the league "intended" and
it could (taking an extreme example) make the whole process of having a
written set of rules, distributed to the clubs, pointless.
The ruling should be treated as in any legal case of law, be
applied as read and the club should therefore not be penalized. The league
has a right however to rewrite the rule to a reading that ensures no
misunderstanding exist and therefore eradicate grey areas. Using the term
loosely, "loopholes" in the legal world are not punishable and often
provide the basis for laws to be rewritten or created.
It therefore appears that a "fair and reasonable" decision has not been
made and in effect we can only assume that pride and or prejudices have
arisen in making this decision.
It is upsetting to all the players who consider we have played our cricket
to the rules of the league and have honorably won the championship on and
off the field of play. Unfortunately as the club have no recourse to any
body we are afraid the phrase "look in the record / score book" will now have
a real meaning to me.
PS - also a second player who had played only 3 first eleven games
and at least 8 second team games was also deemed to be ineligible. One first
team game and considered a first eleven player for the whole season. A sad
interpretation. Lets hope the same people remain on the committee for the next
100 years because we will want to know what they meant when they wrote the rules
when we next come before them - cannot be sure the written rule is right !!!