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BCB remaining optimistic about staging full campaign

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Remaining optimistic: Cal Blankendal, Bermuda Cricket Board executive director
Terryn Fray, the Bailey's Bay captain, smashes one of five sixes off one over during his knock of 62 out of a team total of 107 in a losing cause to St David's in a T20 match last season. The season was shortened because of Covid-19 but the BCB is hoping for a full season this summer. (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)
Too late, mate: Allan Douglas, of St David's completes the run out of Southampton's Charles Trott at the bowler's end in a 2018 match at Southampton Oval. The pair were teammates last season when Douglas transferred to Rangers. (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

The start of cricket will depend on the finish date of the interrupted football season, but Bermuda Cricket Board officials remain optimistic of a full campaign with Cup Match and county cup competitions returning this summer.

Last season, which started in mid-July and lasted just two months because of the Covid-19 pandemic, saw just the Twenty20 competition played before the campaign ended with the All-Star matches at White Hill Field. The Premier Division title decider between Southampton Rangers and St David’s was scrapped because of the approaching Hurricane Paulette.

Despite uncertainty still surrounding the pandemic, BCC officials are moving ahead with plans for the 2021 season, with a meeting with club representatives having taken place on Tuesday.

“It’s all positive news for us, we started working on the upcoming season in November last year,” Cal Blankendal, the BCB executive director, revealed.

“It was a new strategy to take a one month break at the end of the season, from September to the end of October, and in mid-November we were having strategic meetings to work towards the 2021 season.

“We’re having a meeting with our clubs and the theme of the meeting is ‘The 2021 cricket season is open for business’.

“There is a shell schedule that can easily be put together and we will talk to the Bermuda Football Association about their scheduling.

“As soon as they know when they can restart their competition they will have an end date in mind, and that will allow us to tag on to the end of their season to kick start our season.

“We’re already proactive on both ends and in partnership with the BFA.”

Football, as with most other sports, has been halted since early December. With the health department implementing a four-stage plan to return to competitive sport, it will be at least three weeks before football resumes in stage four.

Then would come the challenge of fitting in two months of backlogged games before the scheduled final round of league games on April 11.

After that, cricket grounds, which also host football, will need at least three weeks to prepare their wickets for cricket.

“We’re still looking to start the last week in April, as normal,” Blankendal added.

“To kick start our season, we’re looking to have two or three fields available for the opening.

“The Bermuda Football Association, with Shannon Burgess as the competitions chairman and vice-president, will advise us which fields will be available at the end of the season as not every field will be played on in the final round [of games].

“This also gives us the opportunity to do the administrative side of cricket tonight with our clubs to make sure we keep improving our product to the fans, players and sponsors at large.

“We’re positive about the upcoming season, we were fortunate to kick off the return of sports last year and that went quite well.

“The schedule can only be decided by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Sports as to when we can get back out there to play. But we’re preparing for everything as normal.”

For the first time in its 118-year history, Cup Match was cancelled last year because of Covid-19, as was the county competitions, including the Eastern Counties which dates back to 1904.

The upcoming season will be a busy one for the BCB which is planning to send three nationals teams to overseas competitions this summer. 
On the schedule is the ICC Americas T20 World Cup regional qualifier in Toronto from August 16-27 and the Under-19 World Cup Americas Qualifier involving Argentina, Bermuda, Canada and the United States.

They will battle for one qualifying spot from the Americas in the US from August 18 to 25.

The Bermuda senior team will also compete against Hong Kong, Italy, Kenya and Uganda in Jersey in the World Cup Challenge League B from September 1 to 14.

The BCB extended condolences to the Manders family on the recent passing of Anthony Manders, younger brother of board president Arnold Manders.

“We wish to thank him for his contribution during the 1979 Youth Tournament and cricket as a whole since he was still acting as a youth coach at Western Stars Sports Club,” Blankendal said.

“His son, Jaiden Manders, was a member of the last Under-19 team and the current Western Stars team, both sons, Jaiden and Jamori.”

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Published January 28, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated January 27, 2021 at 11:40 pm)

BCB remaining optimistic about staging full campaign

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