William Dick, Cricket Media Scotland
SCOTTISH cricket chiefs are being threatened with legal action over their refusal to allow an SNCL player to switch clubs in mid-season.
Gavin Lowrey, the former Corstorphine bowler, claims he is being denied the chance to play at the highest level possible after a proposed transfer to Weirs was blocked. Lowrey's request to move from the Edinburgh side to one in Glasgow followed a fall-out with Corstorphine on the opening day of the season.
The player was told by Corstorphine skipper Gordon Lamb that he would no longer be considered for the first team on disciplinary grounds. The club subsequently agreed to release Lowrey's registration papers and said they had no objection to their former player joining second division rivals Weirs.
However, Cricket Scotland's competitions committee, who administer the league, have refused to use their power of discretion over article 9d of their rules, which blocks transfers between clubs during the season. Last night Lowrey insisted he intends to fight the ruling - even if it means taking legal action.
He said: "I feel I am being discriminated against for no reason. My only crime is that I want to play cricket at the best possible level, something that the competitions committee is not allowing. What annoys me most is that they have even refused me a personal hearing and I intend seeking the guidance of a solicitor on this issue.
"I am certainly considering the proposition of taking legal action against the SNCL competitions committee, the SNCL and Cricket Scotland.
"Things like this do not portray the administration of the sport in a good light. Cricket Scotland says it encourages lifelong participation in the game - it would appear this is not the case if you wish to move clubs."
However, league secretary Stewart Oliver insisted: "The competitions committee has done no more than apply the rules in this case. The rules state that no player can play in a league match if he has played for another club in that season in the league.
"They can use their discretion and give permission for a switch of clubs in certain circumstances but this would normally be where a player has moved home or place of work."
Corstorphine president Arnie Sathiy said: "Gavin was asked to step down to our second eleven for disciplinary reasons. He was unwilling to do this and so we agreed to release him. As far as I can see, the poor chap just wants to play cricket and is being denied that chance, but it is no longer anything to do with us."
Lowrey added: "Unless the SNCL change this crazy decision, I will be forced to travel to England to play at a similar standard."
Meanwhile Jan Stander, Scotland's latest "JockBok", will have to wait at least another year before making his full Saltires debut.
The South African-born all-rounder enjoyed a sensational first representative appearance during Scotland's brilliant 2nd XI County Championship victory over Lancashire at Alderley Edge during the week.
The Stoneywood-Dyce player scored 97 runs in the first innings and claimed 4-30 as the Scots clinched victory by 12 runs on Friday afternoon.
However, Stander took part in that match as an overseas player and will not qualify as a resident "Scot" until October 2008 at the earliest.
Stander declared: "Playing at this level has been a fantastic experience and I would obviously like to push myself as far as I can. The next step would be to play for the full Scotland team but under ICC regulations I have to have lived here for four years which I reckon will be October next year."
The Stoneywood-Dyce player-coach - also a Cricket Scotland development officer - added: "I've been concentrating a lot on coaching recently but playing is still my priority and I want to do it at the highest level possible.
"I'll just have to be patient while I wait for my chance with the Saltires."
Several of Stander's successful second eleven team-mates may also have to exercise patience. While coach Peter Drinnen was thrilled with their first victory in the second eleven championship, the Australian is unlikely to fast-track any of his young players into the senior side.
Qasim Sheikh and Sean Weeraratna, who were handed their Saltires debuts two seasons ago, would appear to be the prime contenders for promotion after scoring a century and taking five wickets respectively.