RELATIONS between cricket rivals Kendal and Netherfield have taken a turn for the worse after the shock transfer of batsman Ben Phillips.

Phillips started the season with Netherfield – his second spell at the club – but last week made the surprise move to their cross-town rivals.

Ian Heath, club secretary at Netherfield, claimed Kendal had ‘poached’ Phillips by offering him a match-by-match wage.

He said: “I can understand him being tempted but I don’t particularly like the way it was done in terms of Kendal approaching one of our players.

“It’s bad form, bad taste, and doesn’t do anything for relations.”

Netherfield captain Ben Barrow said he had been on holiday when he returned to find the argument in full swing.

He said: “I was away in Spain and came back to a bit of a situation where Kendal have poached him. He’s had his head turned from our point of view. He wanted to go to Kendal for one reason or another and as a club we don’t really want to challenge one person to stay.”

But Kendal denied that version of events, with secretary David Sykes claiming it was the player who approached the club.

He said: “Ben approached us saying he wanted to transfer. It was his choice. We didn’t approach him.”

Kendal’s captain Chris Miller said: “I was asked if I wanted him to join us and before I’d even spoken to him he’d signed.”

Kendal played Netherfield twice over the weekend, but Phillips didn’t appear. He did however make his Kendal debut on Saturday against Morecambe.

The Gazette attempted to speak to Phillips but he was unavailable as we went to press.