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St David’s in limbo as Douglas row rumbles on

Banned from cricket: Douglas, left, hugs Rudell Pitcher after St David’s victory over Cleveland. Douglas played despite having been banned for three months two days previously (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

The question of whether Chris Douglas’s three month suspension from all cricket should involve the Eastern Counties competition was still not resolved when St David’s selected their team last night for this weekend’s Eastern Counties final.

St David’s officials met with the Bermuda Cricket Board on Tuesday in a bid to resolve the matter, the BCB asking the club why they played Douglas in the counties second round match with Cleveland two weeks ago.

“We did meet with the BCB yesterday and they wanted clarity as to why we made our decision,” Clevie Richardson, the St David’s president, said. “They wanted to hear our side of the story, then they will meet as an executive and make their final decision.”

The Board was also scheduled to meet with the Eastern Counties Cricket Association, whose president, Steven Douglas, is the father of the banned St David’s player. Richardson explained that the decision to play Douglas in the last counties match was made after they lodged an appeal to his ban the day before the match.

“We put in the appeal and shared that with the ECCA and the officials of that match and was told he was eligible to play,” Richardson said.

“As it was the Saturday morning at 8.45 we weren’t in a position to consult with the BCB, so we took the decision to allow him to play. The BCB turned down the appeal and we got that information on the Monday after the match was played.

“We did our due diligence, we advocated for our player on behalf of our club and also conferred with the ECCA and the umpires association.

“But one thing I can say that was pointed out to us is we should have contacted the BCB for clarity, though we didn’t have the opportunity as it was a Saturday and the office was closed.”

Richardson said his club feels caught in the middle of what seems to be happening between the Bermuda Cricket Board and the Eastern Counties Cricket Association which runs the oldest counties competition.

“There is legislation which gives the BCB authority over all cricket in Bermuda, whether Cup Match or county cup, however the BCB hasn’t been hands-on in either of the competitions,” Richardson said. “Now they’re being forced to make a decision.”

It is the Cup Match clubs and the Eastern Counties governing body who discipline players for bad behaviour during those matches, as was the case a year ago when the Eastern Counties imposed bans on Cleveland players over their actions in the match against Bailey’s Bay.

The St David’s selectors went into last night’s meeting not knowing if they will be able to select Douglas for Saturday’s final.

“In all fairness to the BCB they have reached out to try to have these meetings immediately following that game,” Richardson said.

Douglas was initially handed a three-month ban after pleading guilty to a level three offence after attempting to attack another player with a cricket bat during St David’s game against Willow Cuts at Somerset Cricket Club on August 7.

His ban was handed down two days before the Eastern Counties game in which St David’s beat Cleveland at Sea Breeze Oval.

Lloyd Fray, the BCB president and Neil Speight, the chief executive, did not return calls for comment yesterday.