Mornington captain Jason Rose has warned the Gunnedah District Cricket Association that there could be “legal” issues associated with forcing the club to promote “ill-prepared” lower-grade players so their first-grade side does not forfeit.
To be forced into first grade is a bit far fetched and unreasonableJason Rose
Rose commented ahead of a potential looming showdown between the club and the association this week, with Mornington in grave danger of forfeiting their two-day clash against Court House at Kitchener Park on Saturday.
“No,” Rose replied when asked if the association could force Mornington to play.
“If they tried that I think there’s some legalities on that. They can take points off Mornington [but we won’t play].”
He added: “At the end of the day we presented ourselves at the association’s meeting here a little over a week ago. We said, ‘To be honest, with our club there are people here who just want to play cricket. They don’t want to play a higher-level cricket’.
“To be forced into first grade is a bit far fetched and unreasonable.”
Rose’s defiant stance follows Mornington acquiescing to the association’s insistence that it not forfeit their two-day match against Albion last round by promoting second-grade players to fill the void, in accordance with the rules.
As a result, the second-grade side forfeited - and the scheduled two-day first-grade clash ended on day one after Mornington capitulated for 24 and 36.
Rose said Mornington had a “duty of care” regarding their players. “We feel fielding a second-grade side [in first grade] is not the best option,” he said. “As the captain of first grade it’s not the right thing to do to put someone’s well-being at risk, especially when you’ve got Jenko [Albion fast bowler Brad Jenkinson] coming at them at full lilt.”
Association secretary James Mack, an Albion player, said if Mornington forfeited first grade the rules would be enforced and their second-grade side would be made to forfeit.
Mack said the duty of care argument was solved by ensuring players wore adequate protective gear, adding: “If you come out without a helmet, where’s the duty of care there?”
There were Mornington batsmen who did not wear a helmet in the Albion game, but it is unclear if any of them were inexperienced first-graders.
Mack said Albion or any club would gladly lend Mornington protective gear if needed.
He said every players risked being hurt.
“The risk is no different to me playing. There’s every chance I could get hurt,” he said.
Mack added: “If they forfeit first grade they'll forfeit in second grade too. We’ll have to enforce that rule.”