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Bay call for fairer playing conditions

Bailey's Bay, after twice coming close to claiming the Eastern Counties Cup in the past four years, have made an appeal to the Eastern Counties Cricket Association to change the rules of the competition.

They were denied victory by Cleveland County's time-wasting tactics in 2015 when the match ended in a draw with Bay reaching the required target of 127 at the 7.20pm cut-off time.

In the first round of this year's competition, Bay again came close in their run chase, replying to the 226 for eight posted by St David's with 206 for eight when the stumps were pulled at Lord's.

Bay bowled 65 overs while St David's managed 41 of their 53 overs.

Steven Douglas, president of the ECCA, cleared St David's of a slow overs rate and said the records of third umpire Melvin Best showed that the team were just one over behind the required rate and that Bay were nine overs ahead.

Still unhappy with Douglas's explanation in a Royal Gazette article last week, Bay provided a copy of the letter sent to the Eastern Counties after the first round, requesting specific changes to the competition.

“After the conclusion of the Eastern Counties match between Bailey's Bay Cricket Club and St David's Cricket Club on July 20, 2019 we would like you to consider amending the playing conditions to give each team a fair opportunity to win,” read the letter.

“We all recognised that Eastern Counties is a major sporting event on this island. However, BBCC is of the view that the Eastern Counties Cricket Association is short-changing its associated clubs, spectators, players and sponsors due to their inability to provide fair playing conditions for each team involved. This is a great controversy that shuns spectators, players and sponsors away from the competition as the ECCA has yet to adequately address the time-wasting actions of the current cup holders, St David's Cricket Club.

“It was only four years ago that Bailey's Bay Cricket Club experienced the same time-wasting tactics from our opponents, Cleveland County Cricket Club, that significantly reduced our chances to win that match in 2015.

“The blatant actions of many of the St David's Cricket Club players this time around were absolutely deplorable to say the least and we would like for the ECCA to take action against these behaviours to avoid them from happening in the future. In the absence of any action, the ECCA is implying to its stakeholders [players, spectators and sponsors] that these behaviours are tolerated.”

Bay, in the letter, are urging that immediate action be taken to address the playing conditions governing the competition.

“We would like for the ECCA to address this issue immediately and efficiently with the umpires and St Davids Cricket Club as according to your own playing conditions outlined on page 18 under Law 41.9 time wasting by the fielding side,” the letter continued.

“Bailey's Bay Cricket Club should have been awarded five runs by the umpires every time St David's Cricket Club fielders engaged in time wasting during the Bailey's Bay Cricket Club's innings.

“Contrarily, each time an appeal was made to the umpires in reference to the rules, they were ignored.

“We believe if this rule was actually enforced there is great likelihood that the outcome of the match would have been different.”

Despite the suggestion by Douglas that St David's were only one over behind, Bay insist the champions did not engage in fair play by bowling only 41 overs in 3hr 20min.

“While we applaud our team for keeping the game moving along, we are very aware of the current loophole within current rules that govern the playing conditions during an Eastern Counties match,” the letter stated.

“As such, the current playing conditions need to be reviewed and amended to prevent this controversial tactic from reoccurring and ruining what most thought was a finely poised cricket game that ultimately ended in controversy.

“While this is not an appeal to strip St Davids of the Eastern Counties Cup, which we believe we have a strong case if we pursue it, it is a strong plea for all concerned about the integrity of this competition to make significant changes that allow both playing teams a fair opportunity to win an Eastern Counties match.

“We therefore recommend the ECCA to consider the following changes in advance of the next round:

• Start the game at 9am

• Eliminate tea interval as it is an overs match

• Penalise teams who fail to bowl their allotted overs with five penalty runs for each over they fail to bowl by a specified time in order to keep the game moving throughout the day

• Remove the cut-off time (7.20pm) as this is an overs match.”

The letter concluded: “If the ECCA feel that the current playing rules are sufficient, we are left with no choice but to ask for the president of the ECCA to resign from his position due to a lack of the leadership skills required to move this competition forward.

“As stated earlier, this is the second time this has happened to Bailey's Bay Cricket Club and nothing significant has been implemented to combat this ungentlemanly time-wasting tactic from being employed by the cup holders.”

Need for changes: Justin Pitcher, the St David's captain, fields off his own bowling. St David's staved off defeat against Bailey's Bay in the first round of the competition much to the frustration of the visiting side (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

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Published August 20, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated August 20, 2019 at 12:07 am)

Bay call for fairer playing conditions

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