The Mannofield club have been ordered to proceed with a rescheduled fixture against SMRH tomorrow even though they are also contesting the Murgitroyd T20 finals day. Club officials say they will have no option but to send a severely understrength squad to Glasgow's Shawholm for the knockout stages of the nation's biggest short-game tournament.
Roddy Smith, chief executive of Cricket Scotland, admitted that the club are the victims of a "bizarre sequence of events" through no fault of their own. However, he also said: "Though the position is unsatisfactory and disappointing, it has proved impossible to find a solution."
Smith said the dispute is a knock-on effect of the dates for Scotland's Intercontinental Cup game against Kenya at Mannofield being switched by the International Cricket Council. The club argues the real problem was caused by SMRH not having access to their facilities late in the season.
When Aberdeenshire beat Eastern Premiership leaders Arbroath to qualify for the Murgitroyd semi-finals in Glasgow, the club lobbied for tomorrow's match to be restored to its original date 13 days later. The Edinburgh side declined, claiming that Inverleith will not be available because of the start of the rugby season and other player commitments.
Bob Buchan, the Aberdeenshire manager, said: "We are being asked to be in two places at the same time, with emphasis on our commitment to the league, which we can still win. I find it very frustrating as we have done everything to facilitate a compromise, while SMRH and the the Cricket Scotland competitions management group have dug their heels in."
Buchan confessed they have even considered scratching from the SMRH match, a move which would probably lead to a points penalty. "Whichever way we go, we will be seen as the defaulters to one of the competitions," he said. "How can SMRH say they will not play on August 31, the last official day of the season? And how can the CMG accept a situation where we cannot raise a representative team to allow us to fulfil the fixture and meet our Murgitroyd final obligations? We are risking a 20-point deduction for not appearing at SMRH.
"This issue really stems from the availability of a ground, a well-known issue with Edinburgh clubs who use school facilities. It means everyone else's fixtures are messed around."