CRICKET Albury Wodonga chairman Michael Erdeljac has made the stunning admission that the association may have fielded up to six ineligible players in last Sunday’s Konica Minolta Cup semi-final win over Queanbeyan.
The acknowledgement comes after the Queanbeyan District Cricket Club fielded a formal protest with Cricket ACT earlier this week regarding the eligibility of a number of Albury Wodonga players.
Neither Queanbeyan Cricket president Peter Solway nor Cricket ACT would comment on the matter save to acknowledge a protest had been lodged and that it will be heard by the Cricket ACT grade cricket committee.
When contacted by The Queanbeyan Age however, Erdeljac admittedthat six of the CAW players that took part in the association’s finals campaign had not played a game during the regular season.
That’s despite the fact that rule 7.10 of Cricket ACT’s 2013/14 handbook explicitly states for a player to be eligible for the Konica Minolta Cup finals, they must have previously played at least one Twenty20 match during that season.
And Erdeljac went even further in acknowledging that the association has fielded players ineligible under rule 7.10 in previous finals campaigns, including last year’s premiership victory.
But he defended CAW’s selection policies, stating that every member of the association’s finals outfits has been a registered CAW player.
“My response is very simple: every Cricket Albury Wodonga player who plays in any of our sides is a registered Cricket Albury Wodonga player who has played at least one match for a [CAW] side,” he said.
“The sticking point here is that we are an association. We are not a club side. We don’t have the same group of 13-15 players playing games each week.
“We understand the protest that’s come from Queanbeyan and when you read the rules, it’s understandable.
“But the understanding has always been that because we are an association and not a club side, this has never been an issue. We’ve done it like this for the past seven years and it’s never been brought to our attention before.”
The Cricket Albury Wodonga outfit that takes part in the Konica Minolta Cup is a representative side made up of the best available players out of the 20 local sides in CAW’s Provincial and District competitions.
Erdeljac also confirmed the club had been contacted by Cricket ACT prior to last Sunday’s finals matches after concerns were raised by Queanbeyan following an article in last week’s Border Mail.
The article highlighted two players' expected involvement in CAW’s finals campaign, despite the fact they had not previously represented the side during the regular Konica Minolta Cup season.
The two players played anyway as Albury Wodonga defeated Queanbeyan in their semi-final clash before going down to Wests-UC in the grand final later that day.
“We’re not saying we’ve done anything wrong on how we’ve determined the rules,” Erdeljac said. “But if the board of Cricket ACT says we’ve done something wrong, we’ll accept their findings.
“In future though, we’ll try to work with Cricket ACT and each of the clubs at the start of each season to make sure we’re all on the same page.”
Erdeljac also said that CAW would be keen to continue its involvement in future Konica Minolta Cup competitions, regardless of the result of Queanbeyan’s protest.
A Cricket ACT spokesperson, meanwhile, said that the grade cricket committee would make an adjudication on the matter “as appropriate”.