Echuca Cricket Club's B grade side has progressed through to the next round of Goulburn Murray Cricket finals after it won an appeal resulting from a sprinkler leaving the ground unplayable on Sunday.By Geordie Cowan
The Goulburn Murray Cricket board met for the second time in a week on Monday to discuss another controversial incident on the weekend.
An inadvertently sodden pitch at Cooma Cricket Ground and consequent appeal instigated the meeting for the match, which initially resulted in a draw between Fire Brigade and Echuca in a B grade semi-final.
‘‘Due to circumstances .
The board found Fire Brigade was ultimately responsible to provide fair playing conditions for both teams and therefore forfeited the game.
While no specific rule regarding the incident was available, GMC vice-president Colin Price said the ruling stemmed from one of the foundations of cricket.
‘‘This set of circumstances is so extraordinary you would need a rule book four-foot thick to cater for every possible thing,’’ he said.
‘‘There is no specific rule except there is a basic underlying tenet of cricket, that the home team prepares a ground and a wicket for each game and it is their responsibility to make sure the conditions are fair and equitable for both teams.’’
Even with the match played at Cooma — where the Flames chose to host the game — the responsibility still lay with Fire Brigade.
Price said the board accepted Fire Brigade did not have any control over the events, but at the end of the day they needed to accept responsibility and wear the decision.
‘‘We spoke to the curator on Sunday afternoon and he was devastated about what had happened,’’ Price said.
‘‘On Monday he had re-programmed the sprinklers to come on for 30 minutes on Tuesday, but it somehow also triggered for Sunday morning. Nobody knows why.’’
Fire Brigade batted first and was bowled out for 170 on Saturday, while the wet wicket meant Echuca did not start play until 3.15pm Sunday — with the Echuca players using their spare time to make a Harlem Shake parody video — before finishing play at 9/130 after 53 overs.
The game was declared a draw, from which Echuca appealed the decision.
The new result means Rochester Tigers have been eliminated from the finals series and this weekend’s preliminary finals will be Girgarre v Fire Brigade and Echuca South v Echuca at venues to be advised.
The association was now looking forward to the presentation night at Moama Bowling Club this evening, Price said.
‘‘We are celebrating two very successful Country Week campaigns and also some very good performances in each grade of cricket,’’ he said.
‘‘We are also looking forward to talking to two of the life members of the now GMC: Jack Hendry, who has been associated with cricket in Echuca since 1943, and Peter Raglus, who is a stalwart of the Kyabram association.’’
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