TORQUAY have been re-instated in the NatWest Club T20 competition – on orders from Lord’s.
It seemed Torquay’s interest in the competition was well and truly over after they crashed to a 141-run defeat in the regional final against Penzance at Shapton & Poldwick CC near Bridgwater.
That was before it became apparent former Leicestershire spinner James Sykes, who played for Penzance, was ineligible for the competition.
Sykes played four games for Leicestershire earlier this season in the Royal London One-Day Cup, which meant he was not eligible for the Club T20.
If it was a straightforward case you would expect Penzance to be chucked out and Torquay handed a pass to the last eight nationally. It isn’t.
Penzance checked Sykes’ eligibility before the game and were confident he was entitled to play.
The matter was passed to the ECB’s competitions department at Lord’s, who made their own enquiries and have ordered a replay.
Aaron Campbell, the ECB’s competitions manager based at Lord’s. said his department received a number of queries after the game about Sykes’ eligibility;
“After communication with Penzance CC it was clear that James Sykes has represented Leicestershire this season in the Royal London One-Day Cup and despite now no longer being registered or contracted to the County, he was still ineligible to play in the NatWest Club T20 competition,” said Campbell.
It has become evident that Penzance approached Chris Weston, competition administrator for the NatWest Club T20, asking for clarification on the regulations relating to players who have played county cricket this season and were under the impression that it would be fine for James to play in the competition.
“Penzance are adamant they would not have played James if they felt he was ineligible, being under the impression that as he is no longer contracted to a county he would be eligible to play for them.
“James Sykes played in both T20 matches at Shapwick & Polden on Sunday against Newport and Torquay. Having spoken to both clubs, Newport are unable to continue in the competition due to involvement in other competition within Wales.
“Having considered the information provided by Penzance CC and Chris Weston I have made the following ruling:
“The area final match between Torquay and Penzance is to be replayed on Sunday, August 6 at Torquay CC (1,00 pm) start unless otherwise agreed between both clubs.
“James Sykes will not be permitted to play in this match or (should they win) any further involvement in this competition this season.”
The prize for the winners is a quarter-final trek to Wimbledon on August 13.