Dismissed appeal downs Middlesex
MIDDLES EX chief executive Richard Goatley has expressed his disappointment at the ECB’s dismissal of the club’s appeal against a two-point penalty which effectively led to their relegation.
Speaking exclusively to The Cricket Paper, Goatley highlighted the unique circumstances of August’s match at the Oval where the penalty for slow over rates was incurred – a game which had to be abandoned when a crossbow bolt was fired onto the outfield.
However, while the club maintained the punishment was “unjust”, Goatley said they had decided that taking legal action against the ECB was not in the best interests of the game and would now focus on winning promotion next season.
Middlesex have challenged the points deduction from the outset, arguing that they would have made up the over rate had the match not ended prematurely. They claimed that they had received assurances from the umpires at the Oval that they would not be punished.
This week, Tim O’Gorman, chairman of the ECB’s Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) said he was satisfied that this was not a matter that should be referred to a Disciplinary Panel Hearing and upheld the penalty.
Goatley said: “As we set out in our submissions to the ECB, our captain felt he had a deal and an agreement [with the umpires]. That’s been dismissed by the chairman of the CDC.”
He added that the premature end to the game in those circumstances was a unique situation: “No-one’s ever been in this position before and that was a key part of our argument which justified different treatment. So, you’re dealing with something that’s happened once, as far as I know, in the history of the game.
“We went through the procedure, we complained about the decision from day one. Initially an appeal was denied to us, we pushed the point, and were given an appeal and we’ve done absolutely everything we could have.
“Clearly the reason that we appealed was because we thought it was wrong and we maintain that, but we’ve now been through the process within cricket. Obviously, there are legal options, but we’re not going to take them. We’ve exhausted the process and we’ve got nowhere to go now, so we move on.
“I just don’t think legal action against the ECB is something we’d want to do. I don’t think it’s the right thing to do at all. That would be very bad for the game.
“The challenge is to go and win the second division. I don’t necessarily think that will be easy because there’s a lot of good sides in there. Northants won nine games this year and didn’t get promoted, but clearly, we’ve got enough talent in our squad to achieve that. They’ll be well up for this challenge.”
Somerset, who finished just one point ahead of Middlesex, announced last week that they had instructed lawyers to prepare a legal case should the decision to deduct points from Middlesex be reversed. Somerset have now welcomed O’Gorman’s decision and thanked the ECB for a swift resolution.
Heroes to zeroes: Middlesex celebrate winning the County Championship last season but have now been relegated