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Weekend cricket postponed after Western Stars player tests positive

Arnold Manders, the BCB president, confirmed on Friday that a late decision was made to call off this weekend’s First Division games for safety reasons (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Two rounds of First Division Twenty20 matches have been called off this weekend because of safety concerns amid a continuing spike in Covid-19 cases.

Central to the decision to bring an immediate halt to proceedings was the discovery that a Western Stars player who appeared in the win over PHC at Sea Breeze Oval last Sunday is among the 613 active cases on island.

There is no suggestion the player or his club knew of the positive finding before taking to the field — or, indeed, that he contracted the virus at the ground.

“Due to the person testing positive over this past weekend, we urge that all teams that were present at Bailey’s Bay Cricket Club on September 5 have their players and staff tested,” Cal Blankendal, the Bermuda Cricket Board executive director, said in a statement.

“We wish to stress that there is no indication that the said player contracted Covid-19 at Bailey’s Bay Cricket Club. We are only ensuring that we notify all persons based on the Ministry of Health’s Covid-19 guidelines.”

The BCB confirmed on Friday night that the fixtures scheduled for Saturday and Sunday have been postponed, with the governing body set to meet with the First Division clubs this morning via Zoom at 11.30 to determine next steps.

All First Division club presidents, coaches, captains and managers are asked to join the meeting.

The decision to postpone the games was made after 5pm and if the games are not rescheduled it will have a bearing on the promotion race with two weekends of play remaining.

The Ministry of Health confirmed on Friday that there were 65 positive cases on Monday out of 2,465 tests and another 127 on Tuesday out of 3,609 results. Out of the 613 active cases, there are 28 in hospital, including five in intensive care.

“We’re meeting with the clubs tomorrow, so whatever they decide we’ll just have to go with,“ Arnold Manders, the BCB president, said last night.

“I tend to err on the side of caution and I think that’s probably the best thing to do right now for everyone’s safety — the players, officials and spectators. We’ve been quite lucky to get through last year and this year without any incidents.”

Official standings released by the BCB show Western Stars leading the tables with 70 points from eight matches, ten points more than Warwick and Cleveland, who have played a game more. Stars were due to play Warwick in a top-of-the-table clash on Saturday at White Hill Field.

The Premier Division completed its schedule last weekend, with St David’s and Willow Cuts the two teams to be relegated.

“We’ll just have to decide how we choose who goes up,” the president said. “There are still four games left, but right now we’ll give the clubs a chance to speak.”

The season is ending in a similar manner to last year when an approaching hurricane forced the final round of matches to be cancelled.

Other matches on Saturday would have seen PHC playing Somerset Bridge and Devonshire Rec taking on Flatts.

Stars could have wrapped up promotion with two wins. They were due to face Devonshire Rec on Sunday, with Cleveland playing Flatts and Somerset Bridge hosting Warwick.

UPDATE: this article has been amended to clarify that the Western Stars player appeared in a match at Sea Breeze Oval on September 5 before learning of his positive finding for Covid-19

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Published September 12, 2021 at 3:23 am (Updated September 12, 2021 at 3:23 am)

Weekend cricket postponed after Western Stars player tests positive

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