ACROSS The Waves (ATW) will refocus on the Bundaberg Division 1 two-day premiership after they suffered a shock loss to Past Grammars in the Sugar Cities grand final on Saturday, then refused to take to the field against Brothers in the NewsMail Cup top grade decider yesterday.
Past Grammars, of Maryborough, the reigning Fraser Coast A-grade premiers, were victorious on the back of 100 neat from their Wide Bay open representative opener Sam Chew.
He set up a total of 214, before opener Dale O'Brien led their bowling attack with 3-27 as they bowled out the Bundaberg heavyweights for 186 to inflict their only loss in the competition.
Only four other Grammarians posted double-figures, but while ATW spinner Sean Stuchbery finished with five wickets – he took 4-2 off what was to be the penultimate over to end the innings – captain/coach David Jones said he did not bowl that well.
ATW No.3 Brendan Prossliner scored a classy 71 in their chase, but four teammates also made starts without being able to capitalise, and Jones said they were beaten by a better side on the day.
“The toss was very important. We had to field in absolutely fearsome 40-degree heat while when they fielded, it dropped to 14, and the last 20 overs of our innings was in deteriorating light, but congratulations to them. We were out-batted, out-bowled and out-fielded,” Jones said.
ATW were expected to hit back hard in yesterday's NewsMail Cup but after heavy overnight rain and another downpour earlier in the morning, the start was delayed.
After several inspections of the field, umpires Les Bennett, who is also a Queensland Country Umpires panel member and the Bundaberg Cricket Association president, and Mick Clarry, ruled that they were fit for play and set a noon start time.
But ATW delivered a bombshell when they refused to play, and Bennett said the match was awarded to Brothers on a forfeit.
The decision also handed them the Cup for the sixth year in a row.
Jones said the state of the oval forced their decision.
“I can't sign a form to say that it was safe to play – I've got a duty of care – if someone got injured, I could have ended up in court and I don't have the money for a court case,” Jones said.
“It was bamboozling that we could be asked to play on that, and I don't understand why the association don't have dates after Christmas to reschedule it.
“I can't look at (bowlers) Nathan Sarnadsky, Sean Stuchbery and Trent Prossliner, who have kids and work in manual industries, in the eyes and say we will play when there is three inches of water lying in the outfield.”
Bennett said: “In the view of the umpires, the grounds were fit to play on.
“We went to do the toss but Jonesy said, ‘There is no point in doing a toss because we are not taking to the field,” Bennett said.
“The only thing we needed to do was to move the boundary in in front of the grandstand to take the pooling water out of play.
“If play had started and it proved dangerous, we could have then called the game off.”
Brothers captain David Boge was also bewildered by ATW's actions.
“We have played on worse, including in the one-day final in March, and it is just disappointing – it is a hollow victory,” Boge said.
“If the umpires say the ground is fit to play, that should be it. As a captain, I have always done what the umpires say.”