‘Punished for the committee’s decision’: Ex-Services not happy with points deduction

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NOT HAPPY JAN: The PLH committee’s decision to strip points from her side doesn’t sit well with Ex-Services player-coach Leanne Kennewell. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0402womhock1HOCKEY

ORANGE Ex-Services aren’t happy, neither are Parkes United’s men for that matter, after both clubs were stripped of points for fielding unregistered players in their respective women’s and men’s Premier League Hockey (PLH) season-openers in Lithgow five weeks ago.

The issue? They had explicit permission from the competition’s governing board to do so.

Even so, both sides have lost four points after the PLH committee back-flipped, reversing its decision following a special executive meeting on Wednesday last week.

Concerned over future protests if teams were docked points for the same infringement, the executive voted unanimously to rule the exemption invalid and enforce the penalties.

“In hindsight, it was a mistake to give sides an exemption at the gala day,” PLH president Adam Hurford said, referring to the decision he and one other executive member made on the day.

“We made the initial decision based upon wanting to have people out on the field playing hockey … with the players’ best interests in mind at the time.

“After further examination and thinking towards the future, it became clear we needed to overturn the decision or it could open up a can of worms later in the season.

“Obviously the result is not ideal, but it is the best thing for the competition going forward.”

The original decision was overturned predominantly on the basis the full executive weren’t present to make it, rendering it invalid.

That doesn’t comfort Ex-Services or Parkes United though.

The former side drops from first to third on the women’s table, while the latter goes from second to third on the men’s ladder.

“We are being punished for the committee’s decision,” Ex-Services player-coach Leanne Kennewell said, although she admitted her club was one of several to accidentally send last year’s registration sheet instead of 2016’s.

“It was my mistake … after checking (their current registrations) we realised we had 11. We opted to play with 11 … win, lose or draw.

“The PLH committee allowed four unregistered players to take the field mid-way through the first half, in my opinion we did what we thought was right and not illegal.”

Like Ex-Services, Parkes coach Dan Wilson confirmed his side had no intentions of fielding an unregistered player.

Aaron Huppatz only kitted up after he was given the green light to do so.

“To say I’m disappointed isn’t even half of it,” an annoyed Wilson said.

“We lost the match 4-3, but now we lose four points from a [win] where an unregistered player didn’t participate.

“All this after being told it okay to play him. Those points could be crucial at the end of the season when semi-final spots are up for grabs.”

Parkes United’s women’s side were also stripped of four points, gifting Bathurst Souths a win, but their indiscretion came in last weekend’s round five fixture.

Bathurst St Pat’s men’s side and Dubbo Lions were both penalised for round one infringements too.

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