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Cricket association eases pressure on Coutts' balls

Coutts Crossing captain Nick Wood bowls with one of the RJR balls which have caused controversy in the Clarence River Cricket Association.
Coutts Crossing captain Nick Wood bowls with one of the RJR balls which have caused controversy in the Clarence River Cricket Association. Bill North

CRICKET: Clarence River Cricket Association passed a motion at Thursday's general meeting to ease the pressure put on Coutts Crossing following issues with the type of cricket balls the club uses.

A motion moved by former CRCA president Tom Kroehnert, which was passed with a majority vote at the meeting, allowed the club to continue using the balls until the season's end.

While most clubs in the association use a variant of the Kookaburra brand, Coutts Crossing opted to use the cheaper RJR Test Match balls, a decision that came under fire last season.

The problem was raised again just before the Christmas break, with the umpires association taking objection to the balls, believing they were not up to the "standard” described in the CRCA's bylaws.

Less than a week after it was decided that the umpires would make the final decision on the legality of a ball, club president Andrew McLachlan said he was informed the umpires were taking a uniform stance on the issue.

"(Umpire) Jeff Hackett said to me during my spell in a match that the umpires had made a decision as a whole to ban the balls,” McLachlan said.

It is understood the Coutts Crossing leader then got into a to-and-fro with the umpires association via email before the umpires threw the problem back to the CRCA, informing president Tim Kinnane that the association "had to take matters into its own hands”.

Umpires representative Bruce Baxter said at the meeting that there was no official law in the MCC rules - the official guidelines for cricket around the world - on the style of ball used as long as it was of certain weight and size dimensions.

Kinnane said the association intended to buy a bulk amount of balls at the end of the season and would allow clubs to individually buy their balls from the association to ensure it is the same standard across the competition.

"Coutts want to use these balls and it is up to the other clubs to have an objection to their use,” Kinnane said.

"We have approached several manufacturers and outlets about potentially buying in bulk for next season to ease the financial pressure on all clubs, but for now there needs to be a decision made for this year.”

"The umpires association asked us to take it into our own hands, and that is exactly what we're doing.”

GDSC Easts president Bret Loveday raised his concerns over the balls used by Coutts Crossing, claiming it was an "economy of scale”.

"We're out there buying a proper Regulation Kookaburra at $70, then our blokes are bowling with a decent ball and they're hitting rocks in return,” Loveday said.

In the end it was former president Kroehnert who opted to move a motion that under the current MCC laws and CRCA bylaws that the CRCA does not have the power to stop Coutts Crossing using the balls they have. Nathan Ensbey seconded the motion and it was passed by a majority.

Topics:  clarence cricket controversy coutts crossing crca cricket cricket ball general meeting