Brothers batsman Troy McLaren.
Brothers batsman Troy McLaren.

Purser responds to hand bagging

IT’S not in the same magnitude as the famous ‘Hand of God’ goal.

It does not even compare with William Gallas’ extra-time ‘winner’ for France against Ireland where a handled ball gave his side a ticket to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

That’s big-time stuff.

But despite its humble circumstances Troy McLaren’s ‘Handle-gate’ dismissal in the final of the night competition between Brothers and Westlawn has players and supporters fuming.

Westlawn captain Brendan Purser, whose side clinched a comfortable win, has come out swinging concerning the integrity of his players and has backed his team’s decision to appeal against McLaren’s handling of the ball.

Tuesday’s edition of the Examiner outlined the circumstances regarding the incident and asked readers for their opinions.

But Purser says his side played within the rules, sparking debate in the cricket community.

The Westlawn captain disputed claims his side acted in an ‘ungentlemanly’ way.

“The bowler attempted to snatch the ball out of McLaren’s hand as the two met a couple of metres down the wicket,” he said.

“At this point McLaren dropped the ball realising his mistake.”

Purser also believes McLaren would have been run-out if he had let bowler Matt Lobsey field the rolling ball.

“In all my years of cricket I have never seen a batsman beat a ball over the same distance,” he said.

The decision was a crucial one in the context of the match.

When contacted by the Examiner, McLaren was happy to move on and maintained ‘what happens in the field stays on the field’. The umpire in the middle of all the controversy, Jeff Hackett, yesterday shed more light on the situation. Hackett captained several First Grade sides and the Clarence River Representative side before becoming a badged official.

“I’ve been umpiring Premier League for six years and never had to rule on a player handling the ball,” Hackett said.

“It happens all the time in Premier League... too much in fact. People continue to do it (handle the ball) and it was only a matter of time before it came to the surface. We had no option but to give the batsman out.

"The ball was still moving when Troy picked up the ball and Matt Lobsey thought he was a chance of a run-out. Westlawn were well within their rights to appeal. The message is clear - don’t touch the ball.”

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