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Bonus point system not popular with all

As the cricket season winds down with only two weeks to go a bit of controversy has reared its head.The topic of conversation in essence has been a focal point for many players from the very beginning of this season.The bonus system introduced by the cricket board this season is the catalyst for the controversy, with many discussing the pros and cons of the newly introduced system.Will the bonus points be the deciding factor in who wins the league title and who will be relegated?The bonus system was introduced for the 2011 season and was received with mixed feelings by clubs and players alike. Some supported it wholeheartedly as the feeling was it seemed to tackle some of the country’s weaker points.On the flip side, others questioned the change because of the obvious advantages and disadvantages a team could have, namely being allowed to lose more games than another team and still win the league.Personally, from purely a Bermuda cricket standpoint I support the idea, as it will benefit cricket for our national team. If you take a look at all the facets of the bonus system it rewards points for areas of the game that we truly lack in Bermuda, both locally and internationally.The system has been put in place to encourage players to work on areas that have held our cricket back for ages. Let’s look at what the bonus system offers a team.From a batting point of view if you bat 50 overs you get a point, if you get a 100 run partnership you get a point, scoring 250 as a team gets you one point and if you score 300 runs you get two points.It is no secret that we have struggled both locally and internationally to bat for the full 50 overs. In addition we have failed miserably with forming big partnerships.Scoring 300 runs is no easy feat and to do that requires discipline resulting in either one person making a big score or collectively as a team piling on the runs. This would undoubtedly mean that a few partnerships had to be built, which is what the focal point of the bonus system is about.Now let’s look at the points system from a bowling and fielding perspective.You get a point for bowling the team out in less than 50 overs. You get two points if you bowl them out in less than 30 overs, which is a rare thing.Also, you get a point for bowling fewer than 10 wides and/or no balls in their allotted 50 overs, which I can guarantee not many teams received a point for. Lastly, you get a point if your team records two run outs while fielding.When you look at the facets of the game that have been targeted these are all major areas of the game that are in dire need of significant improving. If we can rectify our weaknesses and improve upon them this could benefit us and give Bermuda cricket the boost it has been longing for.However, with the changes there was bound to be a few negative aspects that have reason for argument.Truthfully there are not many, but one significant scenario has many bewildered, especially Bailey’s Bay players and fans.The point system is such that over the course of a season one team could actually rack up so many bonus points compared to another that they could actually lose a game more than the other and still win the league.Questionable huh? Is it the team’s fault when they lose the toss and have no other choice then to bat second?The team batting first may go in and score 200 runs, but that total doesn’t allow the team batting second a chance to get batting bonus points because the first batting bonus point is at 250.Although the questions and concerns are valid, I still believe that the positives outweigh the negative where the bonus system is concerned. However, not everyone agrees with my views, so here are a few responses from those experiencing this first hand.Rodney Trott (Baileys Bay): “I don’t like the bonus points because I don’t think it’s right that you can win more games than another team and they still come before you. Also, how about when it rains or a team doesn’t show up you can get the full amount of points.”Malachi Jones (Willow Cuts): “It was a good idea, but looking at the state Bermuda cricket was already in I don’t think it was the right time to introduce the system. It has only caused teams and players to over think in the middle. As you can see the overthinking has caused players to get frustrated when things don’t go their way i.e. umpires decisions.”Cal Waldron (PHC): “I thought it was a good incentive, but did teams put it in their game plan and was it coached to the teams? At the end of the day I don’t think players applied themselves.”Dean Minors (St. George’s): “I love it. It’s just that you have to educate the players, coaches and public in how it should be done and approached. That’s part of the problem in Bermuda cricket. We have to educate and stop thinking that everyone understands.”Looking at the facts at hand; Bailey’s Bay are currently in second place with two games to play. They have lost two games and have had one tie.St. David’s are first having lost three games. At the end of the day St. David’s have acquired a substantial amount of bonus points that they still sit in first place even though they have lost more games.Is this right, is it fair? Should a team be able to lose more games than another team and win the league?Under these guidelines the answer is yes. The reality is both Bay and St. David’s have hard final games.St. David’s have a derby game against St. George’s who are not only looking to survive the drop, but also trying to claim a Belco spot. While Bailey’s Bay host Willow Cuts who have all of a sudden found themselves with their backs up against the wall trying to avoid the drop.Regardless of who wins one thing is for certain the bonus system is going to play a big role in who wins the title and who gets relegated.We simply cannot just sit around doing the same thing over and over getting the same results. I take my hat off to the Board for implementing a new initiative. It is now up to the coaches, and players to make it work for the best interest of their respective clubs.