THE Creet Cup final will go ahead as planned after the Murrumbidgee Cricket Council dismissed Lake Cargelligo's protest over their loss to the Griffith under 18s earlier this month.
The Lake Cargelligo District Cricket Association (LCDCA) had claimed the Griffith under 18s fielded a player, Alex McMaster, who should have been deemed ineligible as he had already represented Griffith's senior team in the Creet Cup competition.
But as predicted by The Area News, the appeal was tossed out, ensuring Griffith's under 18s will host second-placed Leeton in the tournament decider on March 9, most likely at Exies Oval.
MCC president Gordon Browne said there was nothing in the Creet Cup bylaws to cover any such eligibility concerns, despite conceding it was "probably wrong" that McMaster was able to play for both Griffith teams.
"It's unfortunate - probably in the spirit (of cricket) it was the wrong thing to do," he told The Area News.
"Lake was under the opinion that after what Griffith did, they could then go and grab somebody from West Wyalong to put in their team.
"But these guys are registered GDCA cricketers - it's not like they've gone outside the association to find a player."
Browne said nobody from the Griffith senior team was aware of McMaster's age when he "filled in" for the trip away to Lake Cargelligo in early December - and when it became apparent he was young enough to represent the under 18s, he switched over.
"It was a little bit of fault on Griffith's part but Jimmy Binks played in the senior team against Leeton, and he's an under 18s player as well, and nobody said anything," he said.
Adding to the confusion, Browne confirmed Griffith's under 18s team is an under 18s team in name only.
There is no hard and fast rule to specify what age players must be to qualify for it - the 'under 18s' title is present to specify the team is for junior GDCA players only.
The Griffith under 18s were introduced to the Creet Cup after the collapse of the Murrumbidgee Shield for under 17s.
By splitting the GDCA's players into two teams, Browne said Griffith had actually helped the Creet Cup remain a viable competition by ensuring it would not be totally dominated by the MCC's biggest city.
Further, Browne said Griffith abides by a "gentleman's agreement" not to play the association's most senior cricketers in the Creet Cup, instead saving them for the O'Farrell Cup and the various SCG competitions.
"If Lake Cargelligo wishes to pursue it further they'll need to put something up for the AGM to include to cover that sort of thing," Browne said.