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One-league begins - despite players’ protests

The Premier Cricket League will begin this Sunday with a full slate of matches, Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) announced yesterday.

Sponsored by Logic Communications, the league will see all teams in one league for this season, with matches scheduled islandwide.

However, a number of top players have already voiced their displeasure on the changed format.

Former national team skipper Clay Smith wrote in a recent column in this newspaper that the one-division plan was a step backwards. And he was supported by a number of current players.

Current national team captain Stephen Outerbridge said: “I have spoken about this topic on numerous occasions. Quite frankly I am tired of saying why the change offers no value in what I believe is Bermuda’s perceived direction for cricket. I think if we are to go to one league then a few structural changes will have to be made.”

Janeiro Tucker added: “I am for the two-league structure. We need promotion and relegation, something to play for and get teams training hard to stay up or go down. Teams with younger players may get discouraged with results or the fact that the stronger teams may have no pity.

“Some teams may not show up after a few weeks if there’s nothing to play for and can’t get relegated. Bermuda just came fourth in the World Division 3 cricket tournament. How is one league going to improve our game? Every other country in the world has more than one league and they are improving very fast. We have not moved forward since the 2007 World Cup.”

St. David’s coach Wendell Smith said: “Having one league, national team players will be flattered by their achievements, i.e. accumulating high scores and taking bunches of wickets when in fact their skills are not being stretched. Batsmen will not learn the art of scoring when the bowling is consistently tight, as we witnessed watching Bermuda against Uganda.

“There will not be a home and away basis format in the schedule, leaving a one off match versus your top opposition. Rain-outs against certain teams can prove pivotal in the final analysis of league standings. There is little incentive for most teams as there is no relegation or promotion.”

The BCB said yesterday that after completion of the league the teams would compete in a series of play-off games.

Each week will feature two prizes including the player-of-the-week award along with the emerging player-of-the-week.

The end of season celebrations will also recognise the league champions, league MVP, most runs and most wickets awards.

"The support that Logic provided to the local cricket community via their support of senior domestic cricket has provided a very welcome boost to our clubs,” said president of the BCB Lloyd Fray. “The provision of complimentary DSL broadband to each venue provides members and their children with Wifi access for their enjoyment. The player of the week initiative was very well received.

“I am most heartened to be able to announce the addition of an emerging player of the week prize to the best young player.

“The BCB invests heavily in its junior programmes and it is very valuable for them to have an opportunity to shine at the senior domestic level too. I expect to see tough competition across the island as teams aspire to capture the beautiful league trophy."

The opening weekend schedule sees champions Bailey’s Bay travel to Somerset Cricket Club to clash with Somerset, while newly crowned BELCO Cup champions Southampton Rangers welcome Flatts to Southampton Oval.

Somerset Bridge take on Cleveland County at White Hill Field, Willow Cuts make the trek to Wellington Oval to lock horns with St George’s, and PHC play Western Stars at PHC Field.

The remaining match see St David’s tackle Warwick at Lords in St David’s. Devonshire Rec have a bye.

All matches are scheduled to begin at 11am.

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Published May 23, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 22, 2013 at 6:52 pm)

One-league begins - despite players’ protests

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