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Champions Western Stars withdraw from Central Counties

Western Stars will not be defending their Central Counties title this year (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Western Stars have opted not to defend their Central Counties title this year owing to concerns over the present state of the competition.

The Pembroke club has decided to pull out of the series owing to organisational issues which they believe are detrimental to the integrity of the tournament.

“We regret to inform you that Western Stars has decided not to participate in the Central Counties competition this year,” coach Jekon Edness told The Royal Gazette.

“Due to the history of the competition, this decision was not made lightly, but it is due to several organisational issues that have affected the overall integrity of the event.”

Edness cited the scheduling of the series, inadequate facilities and lack of communication between organisers and the respective clubs as the primary reasons for his side’s non-participation.

“Frequent changes and lack of timely updates regarding match schedules have created significant logistical challenges,” he added.

“Central Counties is usually in May and June, but it is now in July and they only commenced planning a week ago.

“The playing facilities and lack of equipment provided have not met the necessary standards to ensure safe and competitive play. We have showed up to Central Counties matches with grass uncut and the wicket underprepared on multiple occasions over the years.

“There has been insufficient communication regarding dates, key details such as the teams and players eligible to play in the event, which leads to confusion and misunderstandings.

“Participation under these circumstances would not be in the best interest of our players and implies that we are happy with the organisation and the current state of the event, which is far from the truth.

“We would like to challenge the status quo in the name of progress and improvement of the competition. We hope that these issues can be addressed in future competitions to ensure for a better experience for all participants.“

Western Stars are not the only team to have pulled out of this year’s competition, with Tuff Dogs also citing inadequate facilities among their reasons for taking no part.

The Evening League outfit felt hard done by last year after their Central Counties second-round match against Stars at Devonshire Rec was abandoned without a ball being bowled after the ground was deemed unfit for play.

“Last year we showed up to play and the pitch wasn't prepared and left us with no chance to win the trophy, and that has played its part in guys not wanting to commit to try and play again,” club president Manny Faria said.

Tuff Dogs had fancied their chances for success against Stars after turning up to the ground with a formidable squad featuring national squad players Dominic Sabir and Charles Trott and former Premier Division players in captain Trevor Corday, Azeem Khan, Kwame Tucker, Dennis Musson, Arthur Pitcher, McLaren Lowe and Davon Wade.

“We were pretty confident last year with the team we had and the guest players we had only to get to the field and find it wasn’t prepared, so our guys were not eager to enter again this year,” added Faria, who also attributed the unavailability of players in the club’s decision to withdraw from the series.

As a result of that cancellation, Stars advanced to last year’s final against North Village, who they defeated by seven wickets at the same venue to retain their title.

With only two teams left, new Central Counties champions will be crowned on Saturday, when Devonshire Rec and North Village face off for the vacant trophy at Devonshire Rec.

The Royal Gazette reached out to Dennis Williams, president of the Central Counties Cricket Association, on multiple occasions yesterday for comment, but received no reply.

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Published July 04, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated July 05, 2024 at 8:13 am)

Champions Western Stars withdraw from Central Counties

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