Valleys dispute final round result against Harwood
NCCC CRICKET: The final round of the 2019/20 North Coast Premier League season has been marred by a controversial dispute over the result in the match between Harwood and Valleys.
Harwood was awarded the victory at the completion of play at Yamba Oval on Saturday, having successfully defended their 40-over total of 5 for 198 by four runs.
However, Valleys lodged a dispute on the basis the match went later than the specified finishing time, and that the fielding side Harwood should be penalised as a result.
Valleys captain Stuart Moore (15no) was batting at the time and said he brought the matter to the attention of umpire Dave Whitby during his team's innings.
"I said 'there's two overs to go, and it's 6.15'," Moore said. "He said he'd check the by-laws after the game.
"I told him I already had - it was (law) 6.4. The game concluded at 6.25pm."
Law 6.4 in the North Coast Cricket Council By Laws states "In the second innings of a One Day Game the bowling team will be penalised by six (6) runs per over for each of the remaining overs not completed by their allotted time. The remaining overs must still be bowled."
Harwood captain Ben McMahon was disappointed Valleys chose to dispute the result and accused the opposition of deliberately slowing down the play during their innings.
"We walked off the field and shook hands and the game was done," McMahon said.
"We'd played to that. The umpire never told us we were behind time, we thought we were going along fine.
"It wasn't hot, but they had five or six drinks breaks. They didn't ask for drinks breaks.
"One player hobbled off the field, and it took about five minutes for the next batter to come out.
"Even the change of innings took about 25 minutes, and it's supposed to be 15 minutes.
"They knew what was going on.
"If they're disputing we'll write a letter to show our side."
North Coast Cricket Council chairman Trent Lobb confirmed the dispute had been lodged and he would look into the matter.
"The teams have been invited to lodge a protest and once that's received we'll go through the process to determine an outcome," Lobb said.
"It's a disappointing way to finish the rounds but we have to make sure it's fair for both teams.
"The good news for us is it has no impact on the table."
The final standings will remain unchanged regardless of the outcome, with Harwood in second spot and Valleys in fourth and relegated from the competition.
However, Moore said the dispute was a matter of principle after his side was on the receiving end of a similar scenario against Harwood in round one.
On that occasion Valleys, who bowled first, were penalised six overs from their batting innings for a slow over rate. The match finished a tie.
"If it's going to be like that at the start of the season, we might as well follow the rule book," Moore said.
"It doesn't change the aspect of the season. We can't make finals anyway. I just feel we've got to be consistent.
"What's going to happen next year if it wasn't enforced this year?"
Moore also refuted claims his team slowed down play.
"Tye (Adams) changed his gloves once. He got 65. We ran out for a quick drink. It wasn't like a five-minute talk."
Harwood's win was set up by an 83-run fifth-wicket partnership between Nathan Ensbey (73no) and Hayden McMahon (34). The pair steadied the ship after three quick wickets saw had Harwood stumbling on 4 for 58.
"After we lost a few wickets they came in and did a good job to steady the ship and get us to a decent total," Ben McMahon said.
"In the field we dropped a few catches and missed a few run outs, which could made the result really easy.
"After only playing two games after Christmas, we were a bit underdone.
"They needed about seven an over off the last ten. But in the last ten overs I think we bowled pretty well actually."
Harwood will host third-placed Northern Districts in the preliminary final at Harwood Oval this Saturday and Sunday, with the winner to face minor premiers Sawtell the following weekend.
McMahon is confident Harwood Oval will be in a satisfactory condition to host the match despite Saturday's clash being moved to Yamba Oval.
"We probably could've played there," he said. "But we didn't want to wreck the ground at all, knowing we have one more game there.
Sawtell are in red-hot form after defeating Northern Districts by an innings and 32 runs in the last round, highlighted by match figures of 12 for 42 off 17.1 overs from opening bowler Jack Horseman.
Lobb said he felt the second season of the North Coast Premier League had so far been a success despite a lack of cricket due to bushfires and rain.
"Up and until the recent rounds all four teams were in contention for the semis," he said.
"Everyone has commented on the high standard that's been played and enjoyed that factor.
"After the initial year everything has run a lot more smoothly, apart from those outside factors we can't control.
"We're now just looking forward to the finals series and presentation at Woolgoolga Diggers Club on May 16."
Final Standings: 62 Sawtell, 53 Harwood, 36 Nthn Districts, 26 Valleys.
NORTH COAST PREMIER LEAGUE
At Yamba Oval
MA Ensbey lbw Moore 25
H Bird c SH Moore b J Bartlett 17
N Ensbey not out 73
BG McMahon c DJ Mann b JT Gilbert 1
D Harris b JT Gilbert 0
HJ McMahon c T Adams b C Haworth 34
MJ Farrell not out 27
Extras (w 19 b 3 lb 3) 21
FIVE wickets for 198
FoW: 1-46(H Bird) 2-57(MA Ensbey) 3-58(BG McMahon) 4-58(D Harris) 5-141(HJ McMahon)
Bowling: J Bartlett 8-0-50-1, W Thomas 7-0-49-0, JT Gilbert 5-1-12-2, SJ Moore 8-2-20-1, T Adams 8-0-35-0, C Haworth 4-0-30-1.
T Adams st HJ McMahon b D Harris 65
B Bartlett lbw D Harris 6
JT Gilbert lbw D Causley 39
MJ Rose retired 26
C Haworth run out 15
J Bartlett st HJ McMahon b BG McMahon 1
SJ Moore not out 15
W Thomas run out 3
Extras (w 19 b 2) 21
SIX wickets for 194
FoW: 1-25(B Bartlett) 2-105(T Gilbert) 3-151(T Adams) 4-173(J Bartlett) 5-183(C Haworth) 6-194(W Thomas)
Bowling: TN Turner 3-0-15-0, MJ Farrell 2-0-8-0, D Harris 8-0-31-2, L Many 4-0-18-0, JT McMahon 4-0-19-0, HJ Ensbey 3-0-13-0, D Causley 8-0-43-1, BG McMahon 8-0-41-1.
• Harwood won* by 4 runs.
* Result disputed