Woodcock avoids penalty as charge dismissed

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 19/11/2012

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If you thought Luke Woodcock looked shocked on Friday night, you should have seen him on Saturday.

Bemused at being given out lbw by umpire Barry Frost during Wellington's five-wicket loss to Auckland at Westpac Stadium, Woodcock's surprise earned him an appointment with a code of conduct commissioner the following evening.

Having clearly hit the Brad Hodge delivery he was given out to, Woodcock had every right to look confused. But, in doing so, his sluggishness in leaving the middle was deemed to be dissent by Frost and fellow umpire Phil Agent, and he was summoned to a hearing.

Thankfully, because Woodcock didn't use any bad language when he eventually trudged from the middle, some sort of sense prevailed and he left the hearing without being fined.

Wellington coach Jamie Siddons attended the hearing with Woodcock and did his best to defend the process.

"I guess he put his arms up in the air and they constituted that as pointing the bat at the umpire and he said that he hit it and I guess that's a reportable offence, no matter what we knew the decision should have been," Siddons said.

Woodcock is one of the least disruptive players on the domestic circuit and would go a long time between on-field talking-tos from an umpire. That, and the fact that there was not a demonstrable case to answer to, meant the charge of dissent was dismissed.

Siddons said the team were shocked and disappointed when Woodcock was charged, but at least he'd been rightly exonerated in the end.

That means he'll be in the Wellington team which resume their Plunket Shield campaign, against Canterbury in Rangiora, today.

With Jeetan Patel away with the Black Caps, Harry Boam is one addition to the squad that beat Central Districts in their season-opener.

The other is opening batsman Josh Brodie, who's come into the 12 at the expense of Michael Pollard.

Brodie hasn't featured for Wellington this season after suffering a grade-one hamstring tear while fielding in a pre-season match against Northern Districts.

He proved his fitness by playing for Eastern Suburbs' reserve team against Karori on Saturday and will open with Michael Papps, which pushes four-day captain Stephen Murdoch into the No 3 spot previously occupied by Pollard.

"I'm extremely excited. This last week I've hit more balls than I have in a long time, which is quite a lot, because I do train quite hard," Brodie said.

There is one match under way in this round, at Gisborne's Harry Barker Reserve, in which CD lead ND by 158 with one first innings wicket in hand. The Stags were 341 for nine at stumps on day two, having bowled ND out for 183.

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