Laurelvale’s season has ended in confusion and calls for a revamp of the system following days of drama on and off the field.
The Villagers recorded victory against Victoria on Saturday then switched the focus to the following day as promotion rivals Saintfield met BISC.
Social media and a flurry of text messages appeared to confirm Laurelvale’s promotion out of Section Two based on the nett run rate - only for the first talking point to emerge hours after the close of play on Sunday.
Although the scoreboard listed Saintfield as having bowled out BISC for 104, NCU officials reported to Laurelvale the figure as 102 in a change that turned the tables on the league positions. It has since been confirmed as 104 by the NCU.
Communication between Laurelvale and the NCU then revealed a discrepancy in the statistics dating back to July that effectively rendered weeks of play as irrelevant.
“Basically we accept Saintfield have been promoted but the whole issue has raised a number of points,” said Laurelvale captain David Sinton. “During e-mails with the NCU we discovered that the nett run rate was based on a 50-over match in our home game with Saintfield back in July but that was just 26 overs.
“I have checked my report from the time and it was marked down as 26 overs but the NCU had been calculating the figures based on 50.
“Our approach since the figures were released four or five weeks ago was based on the strategy of maintaining a lead over Saintfield so going out foremost to win games and not take risks.
“It turns out the figures were wrong and really we should have been chasing Saintfield, which obviously would have called for a different approach.
“Of course, we could have lost games or the gap may always have been too big to overturn but at least everyone would have been clear.
“If the nett run rate figures had been released on a more regular basis we would have spotted the error long ago and raised attention, which would have saved a lot of hassle.
“The fact that two scores came out after the Saintfield match with BISC is also something to look at as how can a figure change from 104 to 102 hours after a game?”
Sinton accepts promotion is now out of reach but remains proud of his players’ efforts.
“Before the weekend our view was that no matter what happened we could still be pleased with the season,” said Sinton. “That is still the case as clear progress has been made compared to last year.”