Douglas: we’ll look into slow over rate
St David’s were just one over behind the required rate in the controversial first Eastern Counties match against Bailey’s Bay, Steven Douglas, president of the Eastern Counties Cricket Association, revealed yesterday.
The first-round match at Lord’s last month finished in a draw, with Bailey’s Bay, chasing 227 to win, reaching 206 for eight when the game ended at its scheduled time of 7.20pm.
St David’s bowled 41 overs between 4pm and 7.20pm while Bay, with spinners Derrick Brangman and Rodney Trott bowling 38 overs between them, getting through 65 overs between 10.08am and 3.29pm.
Bay were nine overs ahead of the overs rate while St David’s were one less, said Douglas, who received the match stats from third umpire Melvin Best.
About 17 minutes were lost for an injury to Jermaine Usher, the Bay colt, who suffered a foot injury while fielding on the boundary inside the first hour of play. The teams were also seven minutes late in returning from lunch.
It is not the first time an Eastern Counties has game has been marred with controversy because of a slow overs rate.
It is an issue that Douglas promised the Eastern Counties Cricket Association will look into at the end of the series, although he says holders St David’s were narrowly behind the required rate.
“Bailey’s Bay were plus nine and St David’s minus one — one over behind,” Douglas said. “The game started late and the first incident was the injury to the Bay player, 10.56am to 11.13am, then the players were back late from lunch.
“Bay were expected to bowl 56 overs but in that time they bowled 65. They bowled 65 because Derrick and Rodney bowled more than 30 overs between them and they only had two minute overs. They lost 88 minutes, but they still made it up by bowling so fast.
“St David’s were only behind by one over and the umpire reported them for that one over.”
A total of 118 overs are expected to be bowled during the day’s play, but just 106 were completed before the designated finish.
“St David’s weren’t behind like everybody thought they were, based on the time that was allowed,” Douglas added.
“They had a lot of two and three-minute overs, but as it got down to the end there were some seven-minute overs. As long as they were within that time frame you can’t really punish them.”
Douglas, himself an umpire, admitted that the two officials, Emmerson Carrington and Alex Knight, spoke to Justin Pitcher, the St David’s captain, about his team’s overs rate.
Controversy marred the Eastern Counties match between then holders Cleveland County and Bay in 2015. Bay, chasing 128 to win, finished level with Cleveland’s 127.
Heated exchanges resulted in five Cleveland players being disciplined, with Shaki Darrell receiving a 14-game suspension from the ECCA for threatening behaviour towards the officials in two Level-3 offences. He is approaching the end of that ban, having served 12 games.
Douglas agreed that because of the long tradition of the 115-year-old competition, changing the rules are not easy, such as going to 50 or 60 overs per side. “
“We’ve made changes, but no champion is going to give the challengers the cup,” he said.
“We’ll get the three stats from the three games and go through them and tweak them. Remember, it was 60-40 per cent before and it is 55-45 per cent now. Every year we go over this; we take the forms and study them to figure out how best to improve the game.
“We don’t want to lose what we have and don’t want to throw it away with 60-60 [overs].”
History shows that the challengers, if they bat first, have a better chance of dethroning the champions by posting a modest total, as was the case with Cleveland last year in the first round at Sea Breeze Oval.
They scored 157 after being sent in and then dismissed holders Bay for just 92.
Dion Stovell claimed six wickets with his off spin, but the Cleveland reign was short, beating Flatts by five wickets in the second round before losing to St David’s by three wickets in the final.
The cup has changed hands eight times in the past ten years, with the 29 games in that time producing 18 wins and 11 draws.
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