Bird out for season after umpire abuse
BANNED: University captain Luke Bird cannot play until next season. Picture: Phil HearneUNIVERSITY captain Luke Bird has been suspended for the rest of the season for umpire abuse.
The judiciary panel handed down the ban at Tuesday night’s judiciary hearing after the all-rounder was cited for breaking the code of conduct on the first day of Uni’s loss to Merewether at No.1 Sportsground on February 8.
Bird pleaded guilty.
Seventh-placed Uni are 14 points outside the top four and are unlikely to qualify for the semi-finals, especially without their top fast bowler, who has taken 36 wickets at 15.30 this summer.
If University qualify, Bird’s suspension will extend to cover the finals series.
He also received a suspended ban of six playing days next season.
Uni seamer Michael Radnidge was also cited by umpires Terry Collins and Michael Connolly and given a suspended two-day ban.
Opening batsman Tim Prescott is expected to skipper Uni for the rest of the season.
Club president James Wallace said his committee would meet this week to consider appealing against the severity of Bird’s ban.
The match against the Lions was always expected to be heated, given former Uni captain Josh Emerton’s transfer to Merewether in the off-season.
Merewether’s position as table-toppers and Uni’s desperation to win to keep their finals hopes alive added to the tension.
‘‘I think there was a lot of passion, and Luke’s always played with a lot of passion, and certainly he’s remorseful about what’s taken place,’’ Wallace said. ‘‘I think there was a lot of passion from both sides, frankly.’’
JAMES WALLACE, University president
When asked if Bird needed to tone down his on-field behaviour, Wallace said: ‘‘Luke has a role in our club that is not just captain of first grade. He’s on our committee and integral in our sponsorship and other things.
‘‘Certainly he knows what my attitude about those things is.
‘‘I don’t want him to play with any less passion; it’s just about how he controls that.’’
Newcastle City batsman Jesse Major received a three-day ban for umpire abuse two weeks ago.
City captain Mitch Claydon was also cited but received a suspended two-day penalty.
Newcastle District Cricket Association vice-chairman Jerry Tombleson believes the competition does not have a problem with player behaviour towards umpires.
‘‘I think it just happens that we’ve had a few incidents close together,’’ Tombleson said.
‘‘The funny thing is, historically, you tend to have incidents later in the season rather than early in the season.’’