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Manager's Report No. 3

[<<] [>>] by Gary Fox
18th November 2006 (The MacRobertson Shield)

Appeals Panel

A truce was called; the trenches evacuated; and the Appeals Panel met to consider an appeal about the Australia order of play.

The USA team formally lodged an appeal against the Australian order of play. The appeal was supported by NZ and GB provided it was against the Australian order of play based on current singles form. The USA representative expressed a view that the panel should hear evidence from various parties to sustain the appeal. It was suggested by other members of the panel that as the NZ representative was both team captain and manager, the GB representative was team manager, the Australian chairman was President of the ACA and Tournament Manager and that the USA representative was co-captain there was some difficulty and conflict in the various roles they held. They would all both "hear" and "give" evidence. In the tradition of the relations between the four governing bodies it was agreed that the appeal would proceed; (difficult issues should not stand in the way of a possible solution).

The appellant supported by the co-appellants outlined the reasons for the appeal. The defendant outlined the reasons for the decision. The issue resolved itself to the question of current singles form. After considerable discussion and a free exchange of views, agreement was not necessarily forthcoming. Differences between the appellants' positions were apparent and the Australian position remained unchanged.

Statistics based on World Rankings and the deviation between the order of play in terms of the World Rankings and the announced order of play were discussed. Inconsistencies in each teams' selection was then justified (in terms of some latitude to recognise particularly local circumstances unknown to others?). The order of magnitude between the inconsistencies was canvassed. It was suggested to the Australian representative that the order of magnitude of the deviation between the World Rankings and their announced order of play was greater than that of the other teams. The Australian representative agreed to discuss this with the Team Captain.

After a short break, to allow discussions to take place, the meeting reconvened. The Australian representative noted that any change in their team order could adversely affect some of their players as they had no opportunity to practice on the lawns that they would play on tomorrow. However, recognising that the issue would be brought to a vote, the Australian representative was prepared to look at a change in the team order. After some discussion it was agreed that no other team could become involved in that process and the Australians did not have to, nor would they accept views of other teams as to what their order should be.

The appellants agreed that practise would be available if changes of lawns were involved should the Australians agree to a change in their team order.

The Australian representative announced that they were prepared to change the order of play. The order of play is now:

Bruce Fleming
Martin Clarke
Trevor Bassett
Harley Watts
Stephen Forster
Ian Dumergue

The doubles pairings are not in ranked order and remain unchanged.

The USA panel member raised further issues about the order of play, but was not supported by the co-appellants. The NZ panel member saw merit in refining the rules for order of play and will place this on the agenda for the MacRobertson Shield Meeting to be held later in the Series. This proposal was not supported by other members of the panel.

The meeting concluded and play will resume tomorrow.

I will be eagerly awaiting the announcement of the order of play for the second and third tests and the consistency in the arguments to sustain any new orders of play.

PS some poetic licence has been adopted in the interests of continued harmony between nations.


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