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Dennis Williams hits back at Stars criticism of Central Counties

Sponsor Barry DeCouto, left, making a presentation to Dennis Williams last year, is disappointed at the state of affairs at the Central Counties (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Dennis Williams, of the Central Counties Cricket Association, has hit back at the criticism handed out to the organisation by Western Stars and Tuff Dogs.

Central Counties champions Western Stars and Tuff Dogs have pulled out of this year’s competition blaming organisational issues such as the scheduling of this year’s series, inadequate facilities and a lack of communication between organisers and the respective clubs.

In response to the clubs, Williams said that no Central Counties committee exists as none of the participating clubs want to serve on it.

He also clarified that he is not president of the association but agreed to help administer the competition, alongside the Central Counties representative who sits on the Bermuda Cricket Board committee.

Williams also asserted that Western Stars have not attended any meetings and had their proposal to change the competition’s format rejected by the other clubs and the BCB official

“Western Stars wanted to change the format, whereby they just wanted to play in the finals after the other teams had played each other to determine who would make that final,” Williams said.

“This is what caused the delays in scheduling this year. We had to find common ground and agreement as to how to proceed.

“In the interim, the Bermuda Cricket Board had issues of their own when clubs forced through playing two rounds of 50 overs. When the board issued out the revised schedule the dates were taken by league games being placed on the Central Counties dates.

“The dates for the competition have always been submitted and included in the master cricket schedule.”

As for concerns raised by Stars over inadequate facilities, Williams said there is “no secret” that clubs have challenges concerning their grounds, with equipment, particularly rollers and wicket cutters, needing to be sourced and rented while obtaining the services of groundsman can prove costly.

“Groundsmen are not cheap and on most occasions people are volunteering their time to get the grounds in shape for a match,” Williams said.

“This duty falls on whomever is willing to sacrifice their time. No help was ever offered or provided by any of the member clubs in this regard.”

Williams also addressed concerns Stars expressed over player eligibility which they claim leads to confusion and misunderstandings.

“We have a whole document about this,” he said. “It outlines who is and who is not eligible. This year we are tweaking these rules to make the competition more competitive.”

Williams also explained why the Central Counties second-round match between Evening League side Tuff Dogs and Stars at Devonshire Rec last year was abandoned without a ball being bowled after the ground was deemed unfit for play.

“Only those with goldfish memory won’t recall the tremendous rain we had last year,” he said.

“Unfortunately for Tuff Dogs their round was hit by the worst of it. How can you prepare a wicket when it’s pouring with rain non-stop for an entire week plus?”

Williams said it is “unfortunate” Stars and Tuff Dogs have withdrawn from the competition rather than helping to enhance the competition and claimed he spoke with Stars coach Jekon Edness at the conclusion of last year’s series when all concerned “agreed that things would need to be done better overall”.

Williams insists Stars should have attended meetings when they were called to outline their concerns.

“We could have met and worked together to fix any problems,” he said.

“Instead, Stars’ focus was on just scrapping the event completely mainly due to their perceived lack of competitiveness from the other teams and that in their view there was nothing in it for Western Stars.

“We have since had meetings with the remaining participants. We have determined to push ahead and resolve to get up off the canvass and improve the Central Counties going forward.

“It is unfortunate that Western Stars and Tuff Dogs would rather withdraw instead of coming together to make the competition something we all can be proud of.

“We had a sponsor [DeCouto & Dunstan Real Estate Ltd] who has been more than generous to us in getting the competition up and running and we apologise to Barry DeCouto for what is taking place now. We will resolve to make things better going forward.”

DeCouto, a former Devonshire, Somerset Cup Match and Bermuda wicketkeeper, has expressed his own concerns over this latest development.

“I was very disappointed because Western Stars are one of the original teams of the seven that we had in the Central Counties and a very powerful part of that group,” he said.

“For them to come up with those concerns regarding the state of the wicket and the field and the disorganisation, I was very upset at that.

“I made a contribution towards each game that took care of the wicket and the field in the tune of $500 that was paid to the club that was hosting the games, so the question is why was the state of the field like that when the field operator was being paid?

“I sponsored $5,000 for three matches for the preparation of the field, costs of the cricket balls, umpires fees, the lunches, man-of-the-match award for each match and man-of-the-series award.

“So I am very disappointed to hear the concerns of those two clubs as a result of disorganisation. I have asked for a reconciliation of the expenditure and I have not received it as yet.

“Back in the day, everything was run very smoothly and there was accountability. It’s unfortunate you have these things today and for an organisation to not have a bank account is embarrassing.”

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Published July 05, 2024 at 7:59 am (Updated July 05, 2024 at 7:37 am)

Dennis Williams hits back at Stars criticism of Central Counties

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