The United Kingdom has named their squad for the South African Quadrangular in July 2013 but there is a question mark over the eligibility of one of the players within it, according to the UKPA’s own selection procedure in their handbook. The UK have included Rachael Gayler (who previously played for the USA) in their squad but according to the UKPA Handbook (section 3.6 part 5) she could be eligible on a couple of the criteria.
The UKPA Handbook states in the National Squads and Selection Procedure section in the Eligibility paragraph (section 3.6, part 5) that a member has to be a United Kingdom citizen and provide evidence that the United Kingdom has been their home for four years on the 31st of December of the year prior to the year that they apply for selection. As Rachael (who is believed to have become a United Kingdom citizen) would have applied for squad selection in 2012, therefore the four years would be taken from the 31st of December 2011, meaning she would have to prove the UK Kingdom was her home residence from the 31st of December 2007.
The Handbook also states that the player can not have played for another IPC country in the four years prior to the year they applied for selection. Rachael played for the USA at the 2011 World Cup (the team that beat the UK in the opening game and condemned them ultimately to an early exit) and so is ineligible on these grounds as they stand. However, there is a rumour that the UKPA may have amended these selection procedures, either at a recent Executive meeting or via the AGM but there are currently no minutes of meetings available to prove or disprove this theory and no Executive member has confirmed it. Certainly there seems to be a lack of clarity about this position, with the handbook on the UKPA website still displaying the four year limits in the relevant section and there has already been rumours of complaints over this selection decision to the UK Executive. It is believed the UKPA Executive can change the selection procedures without an AGM vote as it is not a constitutional matter but previously any decisions such as this have been discussed and voted on at the AGM prior to a change taking place.
There seems to be no doubt to Rachael’s intention to live and play in the UK, despite the success of the USA team at the 2011 World Cup where they finished fourth, and she would seem to be a great addition to the UK (who themselves lost highly regarded players like Sophie Sargeant and Beth Peaker to other countries in recent years). Rachael has a son with fellow UK player Danny Duhig and they spend the majority of their time in the UK. It would instead seem to purely a timing matter and whether the Executive have actually changed the selection procedure but failed to make it public knowledge and update their handbook. As previously stated, Danny Duhig is himself a UK open squad member and is also the UKPA’s Midland’s Region representative, a position which gives him a seat on the UKPA Executive. Other current executive members are Eric Jenkinson (Chairman), Barry Amor (CEO), Anna Kimber (Secretary), Quintin Cornforth (Treasurer), Simon Shearing (Eastern Region representative), Steve Whitehouse (Northern Region representative), Jeanette Mitchell (Welsh Region representative) and Paul Rowden (Southern Region representative).
It seems like this decision might overshadow the squad selection as a whole but it shouldn’t, as there are other points of interest as well. The squad actually includes a number of other new faces and also some young exciting players. In addition to Rachael and Danny there are the “old” hands of Debbie Harris (3 World Cups and multiple test matches), Charlotte Pykett, Lizzie Shearing and Jason Webb, who all featured in the 2011 World Cup and a number of test match series. Then Jono Keen returns to the UK mens squad for the first time in a few years and he is joined by Joel Sics and Will Halcrow, both receiving their first open squad call ups. Will Halcrow is a particularly exciting young talent for the UK who impressed in recent outings for the UK Under 21s but he is not the youngest member. That honour goes to Emily Gilfillan, who gets her first open squad call up at the age of 18. The coach and manager for the tour are the same as for the World Cup, Simon Shearing and Steve Whitehouse respectively.