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CRICKET: Title in limbo
THE FATE of the Wiltshire League Division One title could be decided off the pitch after table-toppers Purton launched an appeal against a points deduction for fielding an ineligible player.
Purton finished just two points ahead of Calne when the season ended on September 1, however, the Gazette & Herald understands they could be subject to a five-point deduction after fielding a player – believed to be Tom Bowler – who hit 97 runs and took five wickets in their 122-run victory over Westinghouse on August 18.
Bowler, who also plays for Wiltshire’s senior side, is a regular for West of England Premier League outfit Corsham, who saw their Premier One fixture at Frocester cancelled on the same day.
Corsham’s third and fourth sides operate in Division Two and Division Four of the Wiltshire League respectively and league rules state: “A player shall be free to transfer to another SWCCL (Surridge Sport Wiltshire County Cricket League) club at any time up until June 30.
“From July 1 to season’s end, no player shall be permitted to change clubs under any circumstance whatsoever.”
The Wiltshire League constitution also confirms that any club that breaches league rules could be handed a deduction of league points by a Disciplinary Sub-Committee.
Last week, the West of England Premier League confirmed Calne or Purton would be promoted to their Wiltshire Division next season, subject to confirmation by the Wiltshire League.
With an appeal in motion, both Purton and Calne declined to comment on the situation when contacted by the Gazette & Herald.
Meanwhile, Wiltshire League chairman Mike Smith refused to confirm that any disciplinary proceedings against Purton or any subsequent appeal had taken place.
“At this moment in time, we won’t be saying anything because there is no situation.
“I have to stress that this is gossip as far as we’re concerned,” he said.