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Camden New Journal - by RICHARD OSLEY
Published: 7 February 2008
Hear no cricket, see no cricket, play no cricket – Camden’s Eliza Gimson, 12, Janet Bunjo, 11, and Hannah McWilliams, 12
Hear no cricket, see no cricket, play no cricket – Camden’s Eliza Gimson, 12, Janet Bunjo, 11, and Hannah McWilliams, 12
Cricket girls stumped by computer form googly

Simple blunder deemed enough to ban under-13 team from London-wide tournament

IF it had been a genuine attempt to cheat, it would have ranked as the most outrageous of bids to stump the organisers of the London Youth Games: Hit the opposition for six by gatecrashing the girls cricket tournament with a team of overaged twenty-somethings.
Such a ruse would have been unravelled by the height difference as soon as the players left the pavilion.
Yet, the organisers of this year’s games – the annual competition where under-17s from all of London’s boroughs play against each other – apparently suspected the Camden team was trying to pull such a fast one and unceremoniously disqualified them for foul play.
In reality, the team is made up of a plucky gang of girls aged 11 and 12 from three schools – Haverstock, Parliament Hill and Camden School for Girls – and after months of hard practice, they were ready to take on the rest of London.
But the girls have been told that a googly on the computerised entry system for the competition meant the wrong date of births were registered for them and that the organisers thought an older team was trying to muscle in on the teenage tournament.
Nobody bothered to question the forms and by the time the glitch was finally discovered last month, an entry deadline had passed.
Star batsgirl Eliza Gimson, 12, said: “It’s really disappointing because we have been training so hard for this. We were confident we could win.
“We played the boys at William Ellis and almost beat them. They should be encouraging something like girls cricket.”
The shock disqualification has caused ripples in the highest circles at the Greater London Authority, which organises the games. The games are regarded as a triumph for London Mayor Ken Livingstone as an attempt to encourage youngsters to get sporty. There is particular affection for the girls cricket event because it is a game traditionally favoured by boys.
Deputy mayor Nicky Gavron blamed Camden Council’s sports development department for not getting the forms in properly.
“It is astonishing that young people from Camden are going to be punished for their enthusiasm with bitter disappointment,” she said yesterday (Wednesday).
“It would be unsurprising if this experience put them off participating in sport for life and also ingrained in them an unflattering view of Camden Council as an unreasoning and unjust Orwellian bureaucracy.”
An appeal to get the team reinstated was heard last week but it was dismissed by a panel of representatives from five of the competing boroughs.
“The girls cricket team is a point-scoring event and is treated very seriously,” a spokesman for the games said. “The decision is final and it won’t be changed now.”
The responsibility, the organisers added, ultimately lies with Camden
Sally Gimson, Eliza’s mother, said: “I think it’s disgraceful that the girls can’t play because of a minor clerical error. Somebody is taking the rules too seriously, there must be some way the team could be reinstated.”
A council spokeswoman said: “Despite the information on the form being accurate when we submitted it to the London Youth Games it somehow became corrupt and the dates of birth were changed.
“The sports development team have appealed to the LYG but they have refused to allow the girls entry into the competition which is a huge shame. We apologise for any distress caused to the girls.”

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