Dis­missed ap­peal downs Mid­dle­sex

The Cricket Paper - - NEWS - By Jeremy Black­more

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

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