St David’s asks Bay fans not to boycott
St David's County Cricket Club has backed the decision to restore Cleveland as Eastern Counties champions.
The club's management committee met on Thursday night to discuss the dispute which saw Bailey's Bay awarded the cup after their first round match ended in a controversial draw.
However, Cleveland were returned as champions on appeal, a decision that has prompted Bay to withdraw its team from the competition and urge supporters who purchased plots for the whole series to seek a refund from the Eastern Counties Cricket Association.
Now, just a week before the second-round match between Cleveland and Flatts, St David's, as the host club, is hoping calm heads will prevail for the remaining two matches of the series.
“We support the decision made by the appeals panel,” Otis Minors, the St David's president, said. “We want the competition to finish on a high and want people to come out and support the series.
“I don't think they [Bay] should boycott the games, I think they can come to the games under protest, and demand that management of their club sit down and discuss with the other three clubs how to move this competition forward, so that we don't have this problem again.”
Minors, who took over as president of St David's in 2012, the same year the club ended its own two-year boycott of the competition, admits some changes will have to be made to the competition to prevent more controversy.
“Once the series is over, maybe the four clubs can sit down and discuss how we're going to move forward for the 2016 series,” he said.
At the centre of the dispute in the first-round match was the cynical time-wasting by Cleveland, which deprived Bay of nearly ten overs, and robbed them of an almost certain victory. There are no rules in place in the Eastern Counties to penalise a team for a slow over-rate, although umpires in regular league matches can impose penalty runs against teams bowling their overs at a slow rate.
“You should be able to get 20 overs in, in the last hour and you can still have the presentation,” Minors said. “Bailey's Bay have some lights up there and St David's have lights, too, so if it [cup] has to be presented in the dark then present it in the dark.”
The restriction of overs for teams batting first, 70 and now 65, was introduced into the competition because teams such as St David's and Bailey's Bay, as champions, would often bat for the bulk of the day, thereby reducing the other side's chances of getting a result.
“In the past my club has done it, and Bailey's Bay have done it,” Minors said. “That's why the overs came into play because St David's sent Bay to bat at something like 5.15pm and they refused to come on the field and the next year they put the overs in place.”
St David's will play in the final in three weeks' time to determine which team will enter the 2016 series at Sea Breeze Oval as champions. In 2010, St David's boycotted the series at Sea Breeze Oval as champions in taking took a stance against the ECCA on issues.
“Don't worry, we still have our issues and it isn't a bunch of roses with them, but I want to sit down with the presidents after the series is over and try to come up with some solutions and make our presentations as a unified body,” Minors said.