Rangers boycott County Cup final
There will be no final round of the Western County final this Saturday after Southampton Rangers made good on their threat not to play in this year’s competition.
Rangers had been due to play holders Willow Cuts at Somerset this weekend, but will now play in a Twenty20 charity event to raise money for former players Sheridan Raynor, Jeff Pitcher and Elliot Pitcher, at St David’s instead.
Rangers first threatened to boycott at the beginning of the season when it was announced that the games would be played at Somerset Cricket Club, rather than at Southampton Oval, White Hill Field or PHC Field.
With both White Hill and PHC not considered to have sufficient facilities to hold the matches, the Western County Cricket Association opted to switch them to Somerset, a move Rangers claimed was unconstitutional. According to Randy Raynor, the Rangers president, the WCA voted to make the switch because they said that they would attract more supporters by doing so. However, Raynor claims that hasn’t been the case at all, and has the photographic evidence to prove it.
“We’re not playing because they want to change the constitution, where it says that Somerset Cricket Club is not part of the West County constitution,” said Raynor. “And they said that Somerset would bring a better gate than any game at Rangers or Somerset Bridge (White Hill).
“I’ve got pictures to show that isn’t the case. Despite all that, Somerset isn’t a Western County ground, but we were out-voted by three clubs.”
Raynor said that PHC had supported Ranger’s stance but as champions had felt the need to defend their title, something the Rangers president understood completely.
“PHC went up there and played, and I felt for them because they were the champions, so for them not to play would have been a big situation on their side.
“We respected their wishes, but we’re sticking by our belief that it was wrong for them to take the game to Somerset, and so we’ll play in the charity game instead and hopefully do that every year from now on.”
The first fixtures of the new charity event this weekend will see Rangers and St David’s put on two games to help support the three former players who are all suffering from health problems which require specialist care.
A Bermuda Masters team will play a combined St David’s/Southampton Rangers Old Boys team at 11am, with the current St David’s and Rangers sides playing each other in the second game at 3pm.
“This year we’re helping my uncle Sheridan (Raynor) who laid the first turf wicket in Bermuda, and played cricket for Bermuda for many years. He’s ailing in the hospital right now, although we still hope he might come through it.
“We understand that Jeff Pitcher has some heart problems, and we know that Elliot Pitcher has a really bad foot. We’re just assisting people that brought joy to cricket in Bermuda.”
There will be no cover charge for Saturday’s games and spectators are urged to travel East, enjoy the games and the after match barbecue, and make a donation to support the players should they see fit.