Cricket: Armidale first-grade rep side lashed from all sides over War Veterans Cup debacle

Armidale Cricket’s War Veterans Cup campaign got off to a disastrous start last Sunday when they had to forfeit their opening encounter against Gunnedah. 

Last year’s runners up failed to put together 11 players to take the field which left Armidale District Cricket Association president Mike Porter and Gunnedah skipper Mitchell Swain fuming.

Swain labelled it as “ordinary” and said “it’s not good for cricket.” 

Armidale representative coordinator Brad King said he picked a team 10 days prior only for everyone to pull out.

“It was a forced bye in town because of the 50s carnival and everyone took that opportunity to do other things,” he said. 

“They knew it was on because I published the draw end of September so they all had a month's notice but no one thinks about it until the weekend comes.

“I named 12 players then over the course of the next week or eight days that team got changed 10 times and in the end we had nine players.” 

King notified Northern Inland Cricket Council president Ben Middlebrook on Friday that Armidale couldn’t field a team.

King said he offered to play the match on another date without forfeiting “because it is in poor taste that we forfeited, especially the first rep game”.

“But we did offer to play the match some other time but they decided to take the forfeit,” he said.

Porter was furious no one could suit up for the region’s top-level tournament. 

“It should be an honour to play for Armidale and it used to be,” he said. 

“Today the attitude is just bloody awful.

“I am just peeved we didn't put a team on the park. I don't care how good it was.

“There was a couple of things that arose towards the end of the selection process that we couldn't avoid but primarily we should have put a team on the park.” 

Armidale will have a chance at redemption when they host two representative games on November 19 – a War Veteran’s clash with Inverell and a Connolly Cup game against Glen Innes. 

“Our system let us down,” Porter said. “It relies on social media to get the teams out there and to talk to each other. 

“Maybe we need to change our system and we need to do it soon because in two weeks time we have two teams playing.

“There's nothing better than ringing people personally and saying 'mate we need to play.’”