NCL chairman Hodges is banned from umpiring after push

John Hodges
John Hodges

Northamptonshire Cricket League chairman John Hodges has been banned from umpiring until August 1, 2015.

The action has been taken after an incident in the Premier Division game between Burton Latimer and Northampton Saints on June 7 when Hodges was one of the officials and is alleged to have pushed Burton captain Damon Hanney during an on-field disagreement.

He was found guilty at an initial hearing when an independent panel decided he should not be allowed to officiate until 2016.

However, on appeal the ban has been reduced by five months after it was decided ‘the original hearing had not taken sufficient account of John Hodges’ long, faithful and previously unblemished service to Northamptonshire cricket’.

It did uphold the original decision, though, and highlighted Hodges’ reluctance to apologise for his part in the incident.

A statement by appeal panel Nick Cousins, who is the senior executive at the England & Wales Cricket Board’s Association of Cricket Officials. read: “John Hodges had raised a total of 12 matters for the panel to consider.

“Each of the points raised in the statement of appeal prepared by John Hodges was discussed individually and considered by the panel with John Hodges being given the opportunity to say whatever he wished, the panel believing it to be in the interests of Northamptonshire recreational cricket that he be allowed to fully express himself fully and without let or hindrance.

“The panel was disappointed to note that, despite the finding of fact from the independent disciplinary panel, John Hodges refused to accept the validity of the witness statements considered by the original disciplinary hearing, could not accept the verdict of the Disciplinary Panel at the original hearing nor the reasons given by the Panel for their decision, continued to show neither remorse nor contrition, and declined to offer an apology for his actions – whether they be perceived or otherwise.

“In the course of the appeal, John Hodges did not satisfy the panel that the original disciplinary hearing had been improperly convened or was, in any way, unconstitutional or defective.

“Similarly the appeal panel did not find that the disciplinary panel had reached a verdict that was, in any way, perverse, unjust or unfair.

“Notwithstanding the above, the appeal panel did however find that, in deciding upon the level of suspension to be imposed, the original hearing had not taken sufficient account of John Hodges’ long, faithful and previously unblemished service to Northamptonshire cricket.”