Brown Hill furious over Twenty20 ruling

BROWN Hill remains furious that Wendouree quick Eamon Johnson has been allowed to play in this season’s Ballarat Cricket Association club Twenty20 competition.

Johnson was an integral part of the Red Caps’ victory over the Bulls last week despite Central Highlands rules stating that “players competing in Premier Cricket in the year of the competition are ineligible”.

Due to a shortage of bowlers, Johnson has played a couple of weeks with North Melbourne in the Victorian district ranks.

“It’s pretty clear what you have to do. If you have played a Premier Cricket game this year you can’t play Twenty20. We’re just disappointed with the BCA doing the wrong thing, not checking the rules properly and not owning up to making the mistake,” a Brown Hill spokesman told The Courier.

“I doubt whether we will be entering the competition next year.”

Another spokesman from the Bulls said he had fielded a number of calls from BCA clubs that had expressed their own concerns with Johnson’s eligibility.

“It’s just moreso for the competition. I’d like to know what happens if (Wendouree) make it all way through to the state final, what the consequences will be,” the spokesman said.

“Our argument is that in theory we can get someone from Premier Cricket, register them on a Monday, have them play Twenty20 on the Tuesday or Wednesday and then they can register back with their Premier Cricket club by Friday 1pm and they are right to play on the weekend.”

The Bulls are seeking their $60 entry fee returned, an apology from the BCA or to be reinstated in the competition. They are also not blaming Wendouree for the issue.

BCA pennant committee chairman David Dawson said Wendouree had followed the correct procedure in re-registering Johnson before last Thursday’s game.

“We believe he is not a current competing (Premier Cricket) player because he’s a current player for Wendouree. He can’t be registered in two places and rule 2.2 uses the word ‘competing’. This means a current Premier Cricket player and Johnson is not,” Dawson said.

Dawson said the BCA was likely to form its own Twenty20 rules for next season.

Central Highlands regional cricket manager Campbell Waring said Johnson was eligible to play for Wendouree in Twenty20 matches.

“What has happened in this situation is that Eamon has played on permit (with North Melbourne), re-registered at Wendouree and that is fine,” he said.

“(The rule) is trying to stop someone that is playing Premier Cricket and not really playing for the local club playing in the Twenty20 competition.”

Wendouree, the reigning state Twenty20 champion, progressed to the BCA grand final with victory over Napoleons-Sebastopol on Tuesday night. The Red Caps will meet Mt Clear in what will be a rematch of last season’s decider on Sunday.

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