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Only two teams left in Central Counties

For the first time the Central Counties will involve just a single match between the only teams left in the competition Western Stars and Devonshire Rec.

Despite being the youngest of Bermuda’s three County competitions, the Central Counties was often considered the strongest when teams like Devonshire Rec, Police, Western Stars and Nationals were at their peak between the 1970s and ‘90s.

However, the departure of Nationals from competitive cricket in the 1990s, along with Police a few years ago and Young Men’s Social Club this season has left the tournament with just two teams.

Stars and Devonshire will contest the trophy on July 6 at Devonshire Rec.

Former Western Stars and Bermuda captain Arnold Manders said he’s saddened to see the decline of the competition over the years as teams folded.

“If you go back and look at the competition between the East, Central and West (Champion of Champions), the Central won it the most,” said Manders.

“In our era Police, Nationals, Western Stars and Devonshire Rec were four of the strongest teams but now you have Nationals defunct, Police defunct and Social Club who just pulled out and now you just have two teams. It was the best Counties on the Island and had some of the best players on the Island.

“It’s disappointing but what can you do. Clubs need to start pulling up their socks. Stars and Devonshire Rec are having their problems too.

“Western Stars have a good young team but have lost a couple of players. With the Central Counties something needs to be done to revive it. It was the most dominant county even though it was the youngest.”

However, the Central Counties attracted the smallest crowds of the three counties, with the 100-year-old Eastern Counties by far the most popular with strong rivalry between the teams from Bailey’s Bay, Harris Bay, St. David’s and Flatts making the atmosphere special.

“It’s tradition, too, and the passion is there between the teams,” said Manders. “It was a rivalry, too, in the Central Counties but it didn’t have the tradition because anybody could play for those teams whereas in the Eastern Counties you had to be born in those areas.”

The Central Counties, which also had BAA and PHC playing in the competition, began in 1969 with the first match between Social Club and Devonshire Rec at National Sports Club.

Last year the Central Counties had just three teams, with Western Stars dismissing holders Devonshire Rec for one of the lowest totals in the competition — 37 — before then beating Social Club by six wickets in the final.

The Eastern Counties competition have confirmed the dates for this year’s series at Lords. The first round on July 20 will see Bailey’s Bay open the defence of their title against Cleveland, with the winners taking on hosts St. David’s in the second round on August 17. Flatts will meet the second round winners in the final on August 31.

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Published May 30, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 29, 2013 at 11:15 pm)

Only two teams left in Central Counties

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