'Unique' match ending leaves officials stumped

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 11/02/2013

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For the time being the Hazlett Trophy match between Petone-Eastbourne and Naenae Old Boys remains a game without a result.

Cricket Wellington initially listed the two-day match as a draw but senior cricket co-ordinator Clinton Butler said yesterday that it would take some time before it settled on a definitive outcome from the game at the Petone Recreation Ground.

Petone set Naenae 191 to win on the last afternoon. Naenae looked like they might get the runs at one point, but ended up losing their ninth wicket on the final ball of the innings with their score at 125.

But one of their players, Cameron Cross, had had to leave for work before the innings started, with everyone informed that Naenae would bat only 10 as a result.

So when the ninth wicket fell Petone thought they'd won, Naenae reckoned it was a draw and Cricket Wellington kicked for touch.

"It's an interesting one," Butler said.

"There's no doubt that if the ninth wicket fell with three balls left that it would've been an outright result given the guy wasn't there to bat. But because's it's the last ball of the game I don't really know."

You would think it wouldn't matter if there was no balls or a hundred left. Cross wasn't there, so he should be listed as absent out.

That was the view of New Zealand's most experienced first-class umpire Evan Watkin. A fixture on the domestic scene for more than 20 years, as well as regularly standing in Wellington club cricket, Watkin said he hadn't come across anything quite like this.

"Potentially that's all out because there were no more players," Watkin said.

"If a player's not there he's absent out and my feeling, off the top of my head, would be that it's an outright win [to Petone] because that player was the last available player and he was out off the last ball."

Veteran Petone all-rounder Mark Hewson said there were no feelings of acrimony from his side.

Although they would love the outright points they would settle for a draw if that's what Cricket Wellington decided the outcome should be.

"I'll hopefully read about the result in the paper," Hewson.

But not quite yet, with Cricket Wellington wanting a bit more time.

"I'll probably check with some other associations and probably New Zealand Cricket as well to see if they've had any experience with something like this," Butler said.

"It's a unique one and the result will be looked into."

Should Petone get the points that would seem rightfully theirs, then that would make it two outright wins for the round.

Apart from Eastern Suburbs' nine-wicket win over Wellington Collegians in the Pearce Cup, the rest of the games across the two grades ended in draws.

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