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St George’s concerned about revised 50 overs league format

St George's coach Clay Smith (File photograph)

St George’s coach Clay Smith believes a last-minute revision to the 50 overs league format will undermine the development of cricket on the island.

The Bermuda Cricket Board initially planned to stage two rounds of 50 overs league matches for the upcoming season but announced that the league would consist of one round at a meeting held on Wednesday night attended by member clubs.

The decision has been strongly opposed by several clubs who had hoped to meet the BCB to address their concerns before the start of the 50 overs campaign this weekend.

St George’s coach Smith has publicly expressed his displeasure over the late development, which he believes is detrimental to the sport.

“I am extremely displeased that the board has decided to only play one round of 50 overs after initially saying they will play two rounds of both 50 overs and T20,” Smith told The Royal Gazette.

“It is a disservice to the game of cricket to the development of cricket as a league title could be decided by five games of cricket.

“We saw the debacle last year that it caused when Cleveland had two rain-out games destroy their league chances but because there was only one round last year they fell short and ended up finishing third.

“All we, and when I say we, I like to think I can speak for all cricketers, would like to do is play more of the longer version of cricket.

“Since the change came out the messages and e-mails have been flying. Everyone is concerned, the coaches the captains, but so far our concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

“I know my skipper Onias [Bascome] and I sent correspondence to the BCB with most captains and/or coaches in the Premier Division attached requesting an emergency meeting, and up until 5pm today have yet to hear back from them concerning this matter.”

The Royal Gazette has reached out to BCB cricket committee chairman, Steven Douglas, who has yet to respond.

Smith has suggested that the controversial decision was made to ensure the cricket season ended in September rather than in October.

“The word is that there were issues with some football clubs requesting that the season end in September as the original schedule was ending mid October, but that meant roughly two rounds of cricket had to be adjusted so that the end date could fall into September,” he added.

“As a country we need more cricket. We just came from a 50 over tournament [ICC Men’s World Challenge League play-off in Malaysia] where we got lashed; losing mostly all our games causing our ranking to drop, thus costing the board thousands of dollars, but yet we still want to play less cricket.

“From a player’s perspective they wait all winter to come back to play only to be told we will be playing mostly T20 — that’s a waste.

“In my team, for example, some of my batsmen will not even get a hit or if they do they’re batting two or three overs maximum or bowling two or three overs, depending on the game.

“How could this be good for cricket? How can a young player coming into a team develop his skills playing T20 when merely batting or bowling such a limited amount of overs?”

Smith said his players had considered boycotting their 50 overs season opener against Cleveland at Wellington Oval tomorrow and has pleaded with the BCB to reconsider their decision.

“For the love of the game, for the development of the game, we are pleading and begging the BCB to reconsider having two rounds of 50 over cricket,” he said.

“My players are so distraught they were considering boycotting this weekend, but we want to give the board every opportunity to make this right.

“Last year the clubs agreed to one round of 50 overs cricket so the country can make a big push to try and qualify for the T20 World Cup. We made our sacrifice for the country and the BCB.

“Now we are asking the BCB to show us some appreciation/gratitude for our sacrifices and return the 50 overs cricket back to two rounds for the love of the game and true cricket purist.

“At the end of the day, cricket is and will be the winner by having two rounds of 50 overs cricket.”

The 50-overs campaign is set to start today with Premier Division champions Bailey’s Bay hosting Western Stars at Sea Breeze Oval, while in the First Division, Devonshire Rec face Bermuda Under-19s at Devonshire Recreation Club.

The remaining Premier Division match between Willow Cuts and St David’s at Somerset Cricket Club tomorrow has been postponed because the pitch is not ready to facilitate matches, while Somerset have a bye.

“The BCB were notified in March that the Somerset Cricket Club field would not be ready until the weekend of May 19,” Somerset Cricket Club president Richard Scott said.

In the remaining First Division matches scheduled for tomorrow, PHC face Somerset Bridge at PHC Field and Warwick take on Southampton Rangers at Southampton Oval. Flatts have received a bye.

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Published May 04, 2024 at 7:57 am (Updated May 04, 2024 at 7:47 am)

St George’s concerned about revised 50 overs league format

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