Stratford stripped of points

STRATFORD is set to appeal a decision by the Sale-Maffra Cricket Association to strip its first grade side of all its points for the 2014-15 season.

During a meeting on Wednesday night, the club was informed it would be charged by the SMCA with failing to properly register a professional player.

The club is alleged to have breached rule 37 c) i) of the SMCA rules, which states that: “prior to the first match in which he participates, a professional player (ie – an individual who receives payment for his services as player or coach) must register with the Association Committee as a professional player.”

Currently sitting in fifth place in first grade, Stratford, if found guilty, would be wiped of its entire season points, ending any hopes of a finals berth.

After consulting with representatives from Cricket Victoria, Stratford was yesterday set to lodge an appeal against the charges, maintaining the player in question had not been paid.

“We’ve spoken to the SMCA and we’re seeking advice at a regional level, (but) we believe we haven’t done anything wrong because he hasn’t been paid for his services,” a Stratford representative said.

With the final round of the SMCA season to be played this weekend, both parties will be looking to achieve a prompt resolution.

The Redbacks are one of three teams vying for one spot in the finals heading into the last round of the home-and-away season.

Maffra holds fourth place, six points ahead of Stratford and Boisdale-Briagolong.

The Eagles’ home game against Boisdale-Briagolong will have a major bearing on who makes the finals.

The make-up of the top two is far from settled, with Sale, Rosedale-Kilmany and Bundalaguah in contention to claim the minor premiership as well as the right to host a semi-final.

The return of two-day cricket will allow teams to build-up large scores, earning valuable performance points.

THIRD-placed Bundalaguah will host ladder leader Sale, which will be looking to secure the minor premiership.

The Bulls are aiming to finish in the top two.

They can claim top spot with a victory, but will also need second-placed Rosedale-Kilmany to lose to Collegians.

Sale has won its past four matches and was impressive last Saturday successfully passing Maffra’s 228 for the loss of just one wicket.

Sale will come up against a Bundalaguah side which has taken 127 wickets this season, the most in first grade. The Bulls have also scored the most runs.

ROSEDALE-Kilmany could steal the minor premiership if Sale slips up at Bundalaguah.

Taking on Collegians away this round, the Warriors are less than two points behind the ladder leader.

Like Sale, the Warriors have won their past four matches and will be looking to their match against Collgians to continue their form into the finals.

Highlighting how well it has gone this season, Rosedale-Kilmany has lost the least wickets and conceded the least runs in first grade this season.

The Warriors set-up last weekend’s victory against Boisdale-Briagolong with the ball, bowling the Saints out for 116, then made sure of it with a solid effort with the bat.

The young Collegians side will be looking to push a quality opponent and possibly end its season on a high.

While it lost to bottom side Sale City on Saturday, Collegians scored a competitive 202 but allowed the Lizards to form three partnerships of substance.

THE finals hopes of Maffra and Boisdale-Briagolong could hinge on the result on their match.

But they will also be keeping an eye on Stratford’s game against Sale City.

The fourth-placed Eagles are in the box seat to make the finals with a win securing their place.

With the sixth-placed Saints just over six points behind Maffra, six points for a first innings win may not be enough for them to move into the top four.

Last year’s grand finalist has lost its past two matches. Last weekend against Rosedale-Kilmany, the Saints were found wanting with the bat, with just two batsmen making double figure scores.

A big score at Morison St is vital for the Saints as performance points could decide whose season will continue beyond this round.

After making 228 against Sale last Saturday, the Eagles looked set to seal their finals berth, but they were unable make the breakthroughs with the ball.

Maffra has lost its past two matches, both against the top two sides.

WITH the prospect of losing all its points, Stratford play a Sale City buoyed by its first victory of the season.

The bottom-placed Lizards will be hoping to spoil the Redbacks’ finals aspirations and would have got some confidence from their victory over Collegians.

Needing a win to keep its finals hopes alive, Stratford has won just one of its past four matches.

It has been the Redbacks’ batting which has let them down this season, with only the Lizards having scored fewer runs. Their bowling has been a plus, having claimed only one less than first grade leader Bundalaguah.