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Counties resolution good news

Over the last week there has been some positive and some negative news regarding cricket, both on the local and international front.

On the local front, Eastern Counties held an all-important meeting this week. On the international front, we currently sit 0-3 and looking at a bottom two finish out of seven teams at the World Twenty20 qualifiers in Dubai..

To use the Brits term, there was “massive” news deriving out of the Bailey's Bay Cricket Club this week as the Eastern Counties governing body came together and moved forward in a most progressive way with the announcement that St. David's CCC will once again be participating in the mid-summer cricket festival that is the “County Cup”.

While much has been said and made of the recent turmoil/dispute with one of its members, the St. David's County Cricket Club, all parties have moved forward and made cricket the winner this week. What a mouth-watering prospect we, the cricket lovers of Bermuda, have with a possible match of Bailey's Bay or Flatts versus that potent line-up from the far eastern end of the Island.

Knowledgeable cricket fans will know that the “Billy Byes” possess a wealth of quality talent. To name a few, there is: George O'Brien, Stefan Kelly, O.J. Pitcher, Delyone Borden, Chris Foggo, Justin Pitcher, Dell Hollis, Fiqre Crockwell, Sammy Robinson and Lionel Cann. Add to this group, one of the shrewdest tactical cricket minds and inspirational coaches in Wendell Smith, and Bailey's Bay will feel that they are true champions if they can turn back this challenge.

Yes folks, cricket lovers Island-wide sighed a collective sigh of relief this week and some may be altering their summer travel plans for August 18, 2012, will be pencilled in on many a calendar this week.

Sea Breeze Oval will be the only place to be for the connoisseur of cricket. After Cup Match, the Eastern County is and always has been the next most anticipated cricket match of the summer. For some, in fact, those from the County clubs, it may be viewed as more significant. This article is not meant for that debate, however.

To the Eastern Counties governing body, thank you for putting water under the bridge and being progressive minded. Let's hope the matches this summer are as compelling as that epic battle that transpired at Sea Breeze Oval last year in the league when St. David's and Bailey's Bay engaged in what was one of the most nailbiting and enthralling matches of the year.

On that day the gentlemen from Bay won, but in truth cricket was the winner for the fans were treated to a match of high drama. Here's hoping there is more of the same this year. Yes, the massive news out of the East has us, the cricket lovers of Bermuda smiling again.

On a slightly different note, unfortunately things just have not gone well for Bermuda over in Dubai with the T/20 tournament. Prior to going I did say the Bermuda team could finish in the top two in their group with the quality that we have or they can finish in the bottom two if we fail to execute and are tactically poor.

The reality is we have failed to execute and so far we have been tactically poor. Some baffling team decisions to go along with some astonishingly slow batting for T/20 standards has let us down. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg for until we address the real issues surrounding cricket in Bermuda we will continue to spiral backwards.

The players need to come together and rally around each other and try to gain some respectability from the remaining games. Having lost to some of the lower seeds in our group we are now faced with the tougher teams. The hope is that we have learned from our mistakes and will bounce back as the team I know we can be.

Last week I ended my column with a quote that said, “Winning is a habit, but so too is losing”. We have to start getting some wins under our belts because it has now been over two years since we have had a decent tour or something positive to talk about on the international cricket side of things.

This time next year Bermuda will go into what will be one of if not the most significant tournaments of all the Division Three qualifiers. The top two teams will move up to Division Two and the bottom two teams go to Division Four. The thought of Bermuda dropping to Division Four alone is petrifying.

What Bermuda Cricket Board, along with David Moore, must do right now is sit down and map out a plan for the rest of this year that will adequately prepare our players to perform at their optimal best. There is no room for excuses next year this time as we have ample time to prepare.

The pros and cons of this tour must be discussed and hard core solutions must be found. We need a bigger training pool of players, a revamped infrastructure, pre-tour games months before and just prior to tournaments, training camps, captaincy talks, coaching staff responsibilities, management roles, financial/marketing budgets, incentives, work commitment issues . . . this list can go on and on but they all have to be addressed if we are to progress. Unless, of course, we are satisfied to leave things as they are and hope for the occasional good run. Money has to be found through sponsorship or wage cuts, whatever it takes because the reality is a drop to Division Four would be suicidal.

We can ill afford to fail to prepare our team in this upcoming year. We can no longer rely on just raw talent, we must prepare fully if we are serious about improving our cricket. We must be totally committed, Board, coaches, players, and management, if we are to realistically have a chance of gaining our rightful position back in Division Two.

Having said all that, there are still a few games left in the tournament for us to garnish some respect. The players must show some belief and some pride in their performances. There is no doubt they are fighting and giving it all they have under the circumstances but they must dig deep and find more to give. This is what sports is all about, now the question is can the coaches, captain and senior players come up with a formula to turn things around?

PS Look out for next week's article as I share my vision on how we should tackle our poor state of cricket in Bermuda.

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Published March 16, 2012 at 2:00 am (Updated March 16, 2012 at 10:11 am)

Counties resolution good news

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