Brett Crawford (left) pictured with fast bowling great Jeff Thomson.
Brett Crawford (left) pictured with fast bowling great Jeff Thomson.

League seeks T20 ruling

By ADAM HICKS FAR North Coast LJ Hooker League officials have asked Cricket NSW for advice on governing a captain's agreement that saw Cudgen shoot to the top of the table with a contrived, outright win against Pottsville earlier this season. In an email to Cricket NSW, local officials said the match was 'not in the spirit of the game' because it was decided by a Twenty20-style second innings. The controversy surrounds their round four clash. Pottsville travelled to Reg Dalton Field and posted 161 runs which were chased down by Cudgen with four wickets in hand. First innings points were decided around 4pm on the second day of play before captains, Craig Wilson of Cudgen and Shane Robinson of Pottsville, decided to slog it out for the chance to move further up the ladder. With Pottsville sitting near the bottom of the table, they had nothing to lose. Cudgen were five points out of the top four and had everything to gain. Wilson said it was Robinson's idea. Robinson said Wilson remembered it wrongly. The agreement did not break any existing League rules, but could set a dangerous precedent, according to Hooker League chairman Brett Crawford. "All sorts of issues can arise from this," he said. "They haven't broken the rules but it isn't really the right thing to do. "It sets a dangerous precedent. Other teams could do it. It might help others to jump into the finals or end up minor premiers. "But what can you do about it? "We just wanted comment from NSW Cricket to say what type of action they would take and if they thought it was against the spirit of the game and if it was, should there be any action taken." Hooker League secretary and Pottsville club secretary Hugh Kirk said the clubs were not connected in any way. "I can't understand why any agreement was made ... this certainly wasn't planned," he said. "I don't know why Pottsville agreed to it ... they seem to be giving away the match. "The contentious bit is that it might be seen that Pottsville gave Cudgen an outright victory." In the second innings Pottsville were all out for 115 after 19 overs and Cudgen lost three wickets in reaching the total. The outright win gave Cudgen 12 points instead of seven, and moved them into second spot on the competition ladder. Wins in their next three matches saw Cudgen move into and hold down first spot, three points clear of Casino in second and four points above Southern Districts and Tintenbar-East Ballina. Not an issue But Wilson said the issue was irrelevant because the match was concluded in less than 20 overs. "We don't see any dramas because we bowled them out in 19 overs," he said. "If they (Hooker League) want to take any action we will fight it because we rolled them in 19 overs." He said the style of play and the result was not influenced by the shortened second innings format. "No one can predict what was going to happen," he said. "That's just speculation." But he concedes that with around two hours to play out a second innings, an outright win was unlikely. "We're happy to get the outright points," he added. But was it a turning point for their season? "Yes and no," he said. "We could've easily won the round before, but it was washed out and we had a close loss to Tintenbar. "I'm not surprised that we're on top." Robinson said he accepted the offer from Wilson because Pottsville were at the bottom of the table and welcomed the chance at extra points. "He (Wilson) was batting at the time and they only need 10 runs to pass us," he said. "He was at the crease and said, 'What do you want to do, Robbo? Do you want a game of Twenty20 or do you want to call it off?' "We were running last and had nothing to lose and he wanted to keep his points and stay at the top of the ladder. "It's not a matter of getting away with it. The game was going to be over with. "We wanted to stay out and have a bit of a hit." Cudgen and Pottsville played out a similar match last season in the Tweed competition. "All I can say is why haven't any of the other clubs thought of this situation too and done it themselves?" Robinson said. "I'm sure no one in the Tweed comp would have a problem if they (Northern Rivers teams) would've thought of it. "I've got nothing against anyone trying to get points out of a game. "It could've been Casino, or Tintenbar that said it to me and I would've said the same thing." Robinson also said the agreement did not influence their style of play. "We've got a very young team; six blokes under 16," he said. "We have barely scored over 140 runs all year in any innings. They bowled us out for 115. "There was no difference in how we played. No one went out and threw their wicket away. "We knew what we were doing. "There was no set up. "We had them under the pump for a bit and it could've gone either way." Wilson said it was Robinson who approached him with the idea. "Pottsville came up and approached us because they were at the bottom of the ladder," he said. "I heard they were talking about Twenty20 to try and get them some points. Once you win the first innings you don't lose those points. "They had eight points to gain and if it had worked out in their favour we would not have lost any points .... so it was all about them." But Robinson strongly refutes the claims. "That's a load of rubbish," he said. "He can call me if he wants to talk about it."

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