Players suspended, fines reduced, points reinstated

Portarlington Recreation Reserve

By Justin Flynn

Two Bellarine Peninsula Cricket Association players have each been suspended for 12 months after a brawl caused a D Grade match to be abandoned.

The BPCA independent tribunal suspended Queenscliff’s Michael Farrell and Portarlington’s Liam Vagg for a year for their roles in a melee in round 13 on February 20.

Farrell and Vagg were found guilty of assaulting a player both verbally and physically and were suspended immediately until the end of season 2021/22. They were also found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute and were each given a 10-game suspended sentence effective for five years.

The tribunal also overturned a decision by the BPCA to strip both clubs of all their points.

Both clubs are now free to play in the D Grade semi-finals on Saturday. Initially an investigation deemed both clubs should be stripped of all their points, which meant an exclusion from this season’s finals series. Portarlington finished on top of the ladder and Queenscliff finished second.

An investigation last week fined both clubs $12,500 with $10,000 suspended for five years.

However the tribunal reduced the fines to $6875 with $5000 suspended for two years.

The tribunal, which sat last night and didn’t conclude until 2.30am this morning, handed out several punishments to other players involved in the brawl at Portarlington Recreation Reserve.

Portarlington’s Ben Deluca was found guilty on the charge of assault of a player both verbally and physically and was suspended immediately for 10 games. Deluca was found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute and received a 10-game suspended sentence for five years.

Portarlington’s Jack Connelly and Shaun McPherson were each found guilty of assaulting a player both verbally and physically and were suspended immediately for two matches. They were also found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute and were given a five-game suspended sentence for two years.

Queenscliff’s Matthew Toohey was found not guilty of assaulting a player both verbally and physically, but guilty of bringing the game into disrepute and was handed a five-game suspended sentence for two years.

Joe Farrell and Sam Smith, who were spectators and involved with Queenscliff Cricket Club, were also handed sanctions.

Farrell was found guilty for physically and verbally assaulting a player and was suspended for two matches. He was also found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute and received a five-match suspended sentence for two years.

Smith was found not guilty of physically and verbally assaulting a player, but guilty of bringing the game into disrepute and was given a five-match suspended sentence for two years.