Log In

Reset Password

A day advertising the worst of our nature

Photograph by Blaire SimmonsPlumbing the depths: for a great portion of Saturday, Bailey’s Bay thought they were on their way to ending Cleveland’s reign as Eastern Counties Cup champions. But in all-out pursuit of victory, and avoidance of defeat, the worst in our nature shone through, leaving many to question whether a family day out at the cricket is worth it. Organisers of the Eastern Counties Cup must now act quickly

When sport hits the front pages, the expectation is that it is for the exceedingly good news.

Flora Duffy at the Pan American Games; Tyler Butterfield at the Ironman World Championships; Nahki Wells going to Wembley.

At times, though, it can be for the exceedingly bad.

Saturday at the Eastern Counties Cup was exceedingly bad and representative of many of the ills that have blighted this society over the past decade or longer.

Reminders of the worst of us were there for all to see when the event that commands a status second only to that of Cup Match turned ugly. (See Sport for the full story)

The scenes witnessed at St David’s County Cricket Club for the first round of the competition were deplorable by most accounts and have driven many onlookers to suggest that they will not be going back this season — if ever again.

With the annual classic less than two weeks away, that is not the table-setter you would want. But reality bites and, on Saturday, it bit hard as the lawless among us turned what was meant to be a sporting game of cricket into a potential war zone.

Thankfully, it did not escalate as such, but the inhospitable language and vile threats are not what you expect when you and the family “go county” for a good day out.

Some took to social media yesterday to vent their frustration, chief among them Dennis Brown, the highly respected former Bermuda football captain who these days is a highly respected member of the national team coaching set-up and technical director of league champions Somerset Trojans.

He took his family to St David’s and was left aghast — this from a person who, in the not so distant past as a defender, went by the nickname “Rock”.

The landscape has changed since he retired as a player, on the field and off it, so that many of the indisciplined who would be allowed nowhere near the playing field during his time are in the majority on it at present.

Brown had this to say on Facebook yesterday morning:

“OK, I have to get this off my chest. Yesterday at around 3pm I told my wife get ready and let’s take our daughter down to see the ending of the county game. As lots of my family come from the Crawl Hill-Bailey’s Bay area, I was anticipating a Bay victory. When we got there at around 6pm (you know women take for ever to get ready), the antics that I witnessed on the field of play were totally unacceptable and deplorable. As a coach myself, I would have been embarrassed to see my players acting the way of some players on show yesterday. Those actions cannot and should not be condoned because in life and sports there is a line and that line was crossed yesterday in a bad way. Players threatening others cannot be accepted by officials. In the end, the win-at-all-costs philosophy is hurting sports in Bermuda. Is this what we want to teach our up-and-coming players? I hope not. I felt sorry for the umpires, who had to endure such abuse from the players and had to be escorted off the field. Us as adults/coaches should hold our players responsible and accountable for their actions on and off the field. Sport has become a microcosm of our society where some will do anything to get over and win at the expense of others. At the end of the day, we live in this beautiful little island of ours, but what was on show yesterday was probably one of the ugliest scenes EVER on a sports field.”

By yesterday afternoon, Brown had scores in agreement, with several responding — some were at the match as well, while others had the scenes relayed to them via radio commentary.

What follows are excerpts of what they had to say in response to Brown’s post:

Grejai Smith: “I saw when you and family rolled in as I was leaving. Trust me, you had already missed the worst part. I don’t usually do cricket at all, but if this is any indication of what’s going to happen at Cup Match, we are in for some BS this year. I was not prepared to witness the shenanigans that took place. Sad day in sport indeed.”

Richelene Woolridge: “I was there and horrified. And then to hear people blaming the umpires both at the field and on Facebook is deplorable. They are not taking responsibility for their actions at all. I have never in my lifetime seen this despicable behaviour at Eastern Counties. There was no control and I agree that the control should have started with the coaches. Then the secretary from ECCA posts that ending the game was within the rules. Huh! She didn’t address the bad behaviour nor apologise to the fans for it. Of course she is a CCCC fan. I don’t even know if I want to support EC due to this fiasco.”

Arnell Astwood: “Dennis I was not at the game but my nine-year-old daughter was and she was really amazed at the behaviour of the players. She said she will never go to another county game again. The umpires should have pulled the stumps up. I read some people’s statuses on FB and to read that they do not see anything wrong with the foolishness that went on is really sad. I hope all involved get dealt with accordingly.”

Sonia Waldron: “I’m embarrassed and I don’t even live in Bermuda any more. County games used to be great family outings. It is shameful that violence is outshining sportsmanship.”

Leroy Richardson: “I didn’t see it but was listening to the commentary. These scenes in and around our local sports arena is one of the main reasons attendance has dwindled in recent years. I’ve often been embarrassed when taking my wife out to see a game; we’d rather stay away from it. But we love to go out and see and support our grandson and his friends play the sport he loves. It seems that the younger generation don’t respect themselves or each other.”

Lew Simmons: “The solutions are easy! Players must be suspended; managers of those teams also come into question. Clubs should be fined. These are the easy and necessary solutions. On the other side, the leadership of clubs, associations and community must have the courage to meet. The Eastern Counties, like Cup Match, is a summer sports brand that warrants respect from not only players, but those of us leading within and outside of club and community. When the leadership does not protect its brand, with the values and beliefs, then you will have your very own devaluing what is and should be a great asset to building family, club, and community.”

So there you have it. A terribly bad taste left in the mouths of Bermudians who are being let down by fellow Bermudians and their lack of regard for an event that has been ingrained in our culture.

A new culture is forming, though, that history will not be kind to. It needs arresting.

The next move is for the organisers of the Eastern Counties Cup to act — and quickly.

The consensus is that Bailey’s Bay, the challengers, got a raw deal and either should have won the match outright or been awarded it. It is for the Eastern Counties Cricket Association to decide, but key among the considerations should be why was the match not forfeited when Cleveland walked off the pitch, delaying play for about 40 minutes? And why was a 116-over match allowed to end with a mere 89 overs having been completed and the ground bathed in sunshine — official 7.20pm cut-off notwithstanding?

Cup Match 2013 left a bad taste, but the country got over it eventually and Somerset and St George’s reacted so that last year was a fantastic advertisement.

But Eastern Counties requires three rounds to determine a champion. Do we really want three helpings of Saturday?