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Cup results demonstrate cricket’s demise

The cricket season began with the Belco Cup last week, and although I have stated how our cricket has been in a downward spiral, I was completely shocked by the results.

Bailey’s Bay were bowled all out for 87 in the semi-finals, and St. David’s were bowled out for 63 in the finals. Two of the top teams on the Island got exposed by all-rounder, part-time spinner Dion Stovell. I guess the wicket was a carbon copy to the one prepared for the tournament just held here a spinner’s wicket.

Someone help me out, but has cricket gone that far back that in four games of cricket not one batsman could reach 50 runs? The highest individual score this weekend was 38 runs, scored by Malachi Jones who many would consider a bowling all-rounder.

The ability to bat spin has become an obvious weakness in many of our batsmen Island-wide. I was amazed at Dion Stovell’s stats over the two games, as he bowled 11 overs, two maidens, eight wickets for 27 runs.

There’s no disrespect intended on Dion’s fine bowling display but even he would tell you he is merely a part time bowler, not a specialist. Admittedly he does possess a will to win and it is that will to win that allows him to overcome his opponents.

Even more shocking was St. David’s tallying a miserable 63 runs with 13 of them being extras, which means only 50 runs came off of the bat, and only two of their batsmen reached double figures.

What has happened to the once invincible St. David’s team that everyone feared? The loss of Chris Foggo and Lionel Cann has left a big hole in their batting line-up, which has put an immense strain on OJ Pitcher and Delyone Borden to produce majority of the runs, but still that is no excuse.

I couldn’t help but notice that the final squad for the tournament just held, for the first time in several years there was not one St. David’s player in our national squad.

Previously, there was OJ Pitcher, Delyone Borden, George O’Brien, Fiqre Crockwell, Justin Pitcher, Chris Foggo, Stefan Kelly and now none. What a drastic change.

Was their unavailability due to having a taste of success too early in their cricketing careers? I don’t know what the problem is down there, but there is a lot of talent going to waste.

Regardless, congratulations, goes to Southampton Rangers again for yet another mesmerising display. Teams seem to lie down when they meet Rangers in the finals. Rangers have dominated this tournament for so long that once they get into the finals they have become unbeatable.

However, from a cricket purest point of view, I believe that the Belco Cup lost some of its value this year. Normally the league season would be two-three weeks old with players having had games under their belts and then the highly anticipated Belco Cup.

I am almost certain that a few weeks of playing would have had a positive impact on the scores produced. Regardless, preparation should have been better, as it is quite obvious that for the first game of the season players were not tuned in.

Are the clubs taking cricket seriously? Football season is over at the end of March, which gives clubs a good five-six weeks to get their wickets ready, which is ample time.

Our season is beginning very late as it is and we are still not ready. Clubs have to do better for the sake of our national sport. Four months of cricket is not enough, and the un-readiness restricts us as a cricketing nation, but yet we want to compete on the international circuit, and complain when our national squad doesn’t meet our high expectations.

We are simply failing our cricketers. To start a league without finalising a schedule is totally unacceptable.

There is no excuse for the Cricket Board to only announce one weekend of cricket this late in the game. Our last cricket season ended September, 2012, some eght months ago and we still have yet to finalise a schedule. Why has everything taken so long?

Yes, there was a debate about which format we were going to play, but why did all of that come about so late to begin with? Was it an afterthought?

If the Board were seriously considering having one league could they not have drawn up two tentative schedules, one for all one league, and one for two divisions, so that once the decision was finalised everything would already be in place. This isn’t rocket science.

The league structure has been finalised as all one league, so we have many one-sided games to look forward to. Most games will be so predictable, taking the excitement out of the game causing fans to stay away.

Out of the 13 teams here are my top six: Southampton Rangers, Bailey’s Bay, St. David’s, Willow Cuts, Cleveland and Somerset.

I will not be surprised to see either Somerset or Cleveland break into the top four as they have picked up a few good players this year to strengthen some of their former weaknesses.

Players you are going to have to motivate yourself with this new structure. Set yourself goals as individuals and as a team.

Stick to your plan on how to achieve them, and remember you have to be willing to sacrifice something to make it happen.

Make the most out of a not so ideal situation. If you do this I can assure you it will help you to be more focused and probably have a better season then what you are used to having.

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Published May 25, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 25, 2013 at 8:29 am)

Cup results demonstrate cricket’s demise

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