Cricket match abandoned as spectators - including women - join in pitch battle

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A TWO year ban has been slapped on two cricketers arising out of incidents at a midweek match in Sheffield which had to be abandoned with one spectator being punched in the melee.

Players and even spectators, including women, went onto the playing area and engaged in angry confrontation in a dispute lasting several minutes and which, it is claimed, got out of control

It happened in a game between Norton Oakes and Nether Edge in the Alliance Midweek League, Sheffield’s top midweek competition.

The League’s Disciplinary Committee heard evidence from both clubs and, crucially, saw CCTV footage of the various confrontations - described by a League spokesman as “a very sad picture that does no credit to either club.”

Two Nether Edge players, Ehsan Haq and Izhar Javid have been banned from playing in the League until 2013.

In addition, Chris Barker, of Norton Oakes, has been warned as to his future conduct and has been reprimanded for “aggravating the situation at a sensitive point without which the matter may possibly have sorted itself out,” said the Disciplinary Committee in their conclusion. They also said that both clubs should share overall responsibility for the “ensuing verbal and physical melee that, given the experienced players present, should have been avoidable.”

They added: “(However), Nether Edge did allow several of their players to aggressively approach the Norton Oakes player and also, en masse, did become proactive in the melee including the physical punching of a spectator.”

In releasing details of the game, which was played last month, and the conclusions on their website, the League say the CCTV footage clearly shows how the original disputed umpiring decision was inflamed and escalated by the actions of certain players of both sides but, in the main, by the aggressive behaviour of Nether Edge.

“The source of the problem was created by Nether Edge in persistently challenging an umpiring decision and, especially, the conduct of the two of their players.

“A Norton Oakes player sitting on the side entered the field of play and involved himself in the dispute thus adding to the situation.

“The CCTV footage proves that within the space of four minutes, the dispute goes out of control and escalates into a general melee involving both sets of players, the umpire and, indeed, spectators, both male and female.

They concluded: “Nether Edge started the incident from which everything developed by the non-acceptance of the umpire’s decision.”

They have also imposed fines on the clubs - £100 on Nether Edge and £50 on Norton Oakes - for bringing the game into disrepute. In addition, Nether Edge have been deducted three points.

Both clubs have been warned as to their future conduct and the League said that they both had “previously unblemished records” but further cautioned them that future conduct “will be linked to this incident.”