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BCB executive defends new format

Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) First-Vice President and Cricket Committee Chairman Nyon Steede has hit back at criticism of the controversial one league structure.

Even though the majority of cricket clubs voted in favour of the league structure, a number of high-profile players such as national team skipper Stephen Outerbridge, Janeiro Tucker and former top player Clay Smith have publicly voiced their displeasure on the new format.

Steede believes the benefits of having a one league structure far outweigh the negatives.

“The BCB is aware of the favourable and unfavourable comments surrounding moving to a one league structure and we see and understand the pros and cons of both structures,” he said. “It is our aim to improve cricket by focusing on player performance and development that can increase the pool available to the national programmes.

“The future and sustainability of Bermuda cricket lies in the hands of the younger players advancing into the national teams/programmes. The same types of players that we hope will benefit from the new structure are those who we saw listed as reserves during the recent WCL tournament such as Tre Manders, Greg Maybury, Delray Rawlins, Joshua Gilbert (unavailable) and Kamau Leverock (unavailable) who have competed in the international arena after spending time in the lower division.”

In order to be able to develop the players who will represent Bermuda in the future, Steede said the BCB hope that the one league structure will:

Ÿ give clubs the ability and time to develop and retain players to build their programmes to be more competitive;

Ÿ allow for a longer season and more cricket (which the premier division clubs asked for from last year);

Ÿ reduce the number of "do or die" matches with the emphasis placed on winning and not development;

Ÿ hopefully raise the commitment and preparation level of weaker players/teams to be more competitive and to be a measurement of how much more individual and collective commitment and preparation may still be required;

Ÿ open up more matches so teams have an opportunity to use their "fringe" or younger players which is the essence of development

Steede added: “There has been concerns expressed in reference to teams not having anything to play for once they know that they can't win the league and will forfeit matches. In order to keep the interest in playing throughout the season, there will be a play-off tournament between the top eight teams and the remaining teams will play in a "plate" tournament.

“This is not the only thing that the BCB is doing or has done toward focusing on development at this time. We changed the transfer system, are trying to add a PDL league on Saturdays, included the Under-19’s in the senior league and kept coach Moore (national coach David Moore) on for an extra three months to ensure that the Youth Academy goes from strength to strength.”

Steede said all of the aforementioned is in alignment with the BCB’s strategic focus on improving performance and development, adding: “The direction this year is what the BCB hopes will be the creation of a framework for improving club teams and games as well as creating an environment for vibrant, active match play.”

Another critic of the controversial one league structure is St David’s coach Wendell Smith who fears the new format will prevent players from reaching their full potential.

“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,” he argued. “Batsmen will not learn the art of scoring when the bowling is consistently tight, as we witnessed watching Bermuda against Uganda (WCL Division Three).”

Smith also believes the new league offers little incentive for most teams in the absence of promotion and relegation.

There are concerns players on weaker teams will become discouraged from losing heavily to bigger clubs.

On the weekend saw powerhouses St David’s and Southampton Rangers record lopsided wins against minnows Warwick and Flatts Victoria.

St David’s thrashed a youthful Warwick by 269 runs at Lords while Rangers hammered Flatts by 218 runs at Southampton Oval.

Photo by Glenn Tucker St.David's' Sammy Robinson square cuts against Warwick on his way to 85 runs at Lords on Sunday. The Islanders thrashed the former First Division side by 269 runs, adding credence to comments made St. David's coach Wendell Smith who said the BCB's new one-league format was a backward step.

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Published May 28, 2013 at 11:07 am (Updated May 28, 2013 at 11:07 am)

BCB executive defends new format

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