Hadleigh Cricket Club are now poised to play in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Division One next season having initially been set to finish in the relegation zone.
Saturday’s defeat to newly crowned champions Mildenhall made it mathematically impossible for Hadleigh to avoid a bottom two finish this season.
But in a statement released on the Two Counties Championship website this afternoon, Coggeshall have been docked 77 points for fielding two overseas players in five of their matches.
The revised league table now sees Coggeshall, who were in seventh place before the points deduction, now bottom of the table with 164 points.
Already-relegated Copford have moved up a place into 11th, while Hadleigh (10th), Halstead (ninth), Haverhill (eighth) and Frinton-on-Sea II (seventh) have also climbed up a place (new positions in brackets).
Coggeshall have seven days to make an appeal against the decision, but barring a successful appeal Hadleigh will have avoided relegation.
The statement reads: “The meeting of the Management Sub-Committee on the 5th September, 2016 had to deal with a possible breach of Rule 13e by Coggeshall Cricket Club.
“Coggeshall Cricket Club were represented by four officers and admitted playing two overseas players in their 1st XI matches on 30th July, 6th August, 13th August, 20th August and 27th August wrongly believing that Zachary McCaskie, who arrived in this country at the end of June, was not an overseas player because he was the holder of a British Passport.
“The Management Sub-Committee were unanimous in the view that the penalties for fielding an ineligible player set out in Rule 13a had to be applied.
“Coggeshall Cricket Club were therefore ordered to forfeit the points gained in the five matches, which totalled 61 points, plus a further 16 points for breaching Rule 13e, a total of 77 points.
“In addition the opposing teams will each receive a total of 20 points, less those already obtained in the matches in question. The teams to receive additional points are as follows:- Witham 14 points, Hadleigh 13 points and Halstead 1 point.
“Coggeshall Cricket Club have a right of appeal in the next seven days against the decision of the Management Sub-Committee.”
* For reaction see Thursday’s Suffolk Free Press.