THE Nowra Cricket Club has said it will appeal a decision by NSW Country Cricket that has left the club scrambling for players.
On Monday night a NSW Country Cricket judiciary suspended six first grade players from the competition for the remainder of the season for bringing the game of cricket into disrepute.
It is understood the players were called before the judiciary after a letter of complaint was received by NSW Country Cricket from the owner of a Cowra motel where the team stayed during the Country Plate competition held in December.
Details of the players’ alleged behaviour have not been released, however the judiciary warranted the matter serious enough to suspend Michael Coulter, Jack Watts, Sam Watts, Daniel Bryant, Chris Bryant and Kurt Quinlan for the remainder of the season for what it described as a behavior that brought the game of cricket into disrepute.
Information received by the Register suggests that Michael Coulter was not involved in any of the alleged incidents but as team captain received the same suspension as the other five players.
A press release issued by the Shoalhaven Cricket Association earlier this week said it supported the penalties handed down at the judiciary hearing, and that the behavior of the players involved is of great concern to the local association.
A member of the Nowra team who stayed at the Cowra motel, but was not one of the suspended players, said the whole incident had been blown out of proportion.
The player, who did not wish to be named, said he shared a room with two of the suspended players and said the only issue was that they got a bit noisy at times.
“The owner of the hotel came down to the room and asked us to be quiet, we apologised and then called it a night,” he said.
“In the morning we went down to the office and apologised to the owner again and he seemed OK with it.
“We were not the only team staying at the motel and as far as I know we didn’t break anything, the whole thing has been over exaggerated.
“The evidence given is conflicting, and our players were not given a chance to defend themselves at the judiciary hearing,” he added.
A spokesman from the Nowra Cricket Club confirmed an appeal against the judiciary’s decision would be lodged within the next 14 days.
In the meantime the competition leader has a lot of holes to fill as it continues its drive toward the minor premiership and prepares for the final series. The suspensions have left the first grade side short a number of key run makers who have helped the team lead this season’s championship.
With all of the suspended players named in the side presently competing against Ulladulla at Nowra Showground, a depleted team of five named players and six non batting/bowling substitutes will take to the field on Saturday in an attempt to defend the side’s 124 run first innings total. A victory by Nowra could secure the first grade minor premiership.
The depth of talent enjoyed by the Nowra club this season will help fill a few of the gaps, and a number of former players have already said they are ready to come out of retirement to make up the numbers. This will allow second, third and fourth grade an uninterrupted run to the end of the season as they also chase premiership success.
Nowra has a bye for next week’s round 12 and will use the two- week break to lodge an appeal against the suspensions. They hope to have the suspended players back in time for the semi-finals which commence on March 16.
Nowra’s last two games of the season are against fellow competition front runners Bomaderry followed by the final round clash of the season against North Nowra Cambewarra.