St David’s ignored Douglas ban
The Bermuda Cricket Board and Eastern Counties Cricket Association are on a collision course over the right to run the game on the island.
A row has erupted over Chris Douglas's appearance for St David's in the Eastern Counties second round at Sea Breeze Oval on Saturday.
Douglas played for the East End club in their thrilling one-wicket win over Cleveland despite having been banned “from all cricket for a period of three-months” only two days earlier.
The punishment came after the son of Steven Douglas, the Eastern Counties president, pleaded guilty to the charge of threat of assault on another player while representing St David's in the Logic Premier League match against Willow Cuts at Somerset Cricket Club on August 7, a day after representing Cuts in the Western Counties as a guest player.
Douglas reportedly threatened another player with a cricket bat and only the intervention of his team-mates prevented him from carrying out the assault.
As a result, Douglas is not eligible to play again until November 5, a decision that should have ended his season and which also rules him out of contention for the Bermuda squad to play in the World Cricket League Division Four tournament in October.
St David's were informed of the decision by the BCB last Friday, and despite Douglas's guilty plea, the club, at the urging of Eastern Counties officials, appealed the same day.
Despite that move, BCB rules state that a player remains banned until the appeal committee chairman has ruled if the appeal is frivolous or not — a process that has not happened yet.
However, the Eastern Counties disagrees and is of the view that the BCB rules do not apply to it or the second oldest competition on the island, after Cup Match.
“The issue between the ECCA and the BCB as it pertains to discipline issued by either body and based on past years' events, it was determined then that as there is no formal association between the ECCA and the BCB, discipline actions by either body do not necessarily have to be recognised by the various associations,” read an Eastern Counties statement sent out to its members on Friday night.
St David's chose to follow the ECCA's advice, and while ECCA officials are not necessarily governed by the board, the clubs that take part are, and all have signed up to bylaws regarding discipline.
These include the following: “The Rules are applicable to all individuals taking part in any cricket match sanctioned by the Bermuda Cricket Board (the “BCB”) whether in Bermuda or otherwise,” the bylaws read. “In addition these Rules cover the conduct of all individuals registered as players with the BCB or any Individual affiliated with any Club or Organisation, as defined in the Constitution and Bylaws (together the “Individual”) such conduct is not limited to actions that take place on the field of play.”
When contacted last night, the BCB said that it could not comment because “the matter is ongoing”. The ECCA and St David's took much the same approach, while Carlton Smith, the Cleveland County president, could not be reached.
Whatever happens, this could just be the beginning of a long fight.
Cleveland may feel that they are justified in appealing the outcome of Saturday's game, which they lost by the narrowest of margins.
A failure on the ECCA's part to consider this may not only lead to accusations of hypocrisy, but to suggestions that the ECCA president was manipulating the situation for his son's benefit.
For the BCB, this incident represents a direct threat to its authority as a whole, one given to it by an Act of Parliament that names the board as the sole guardian of the game on the island.