BCB (oops, Belco) wastes opportunity to spread the word
When the Bermuda Cricket Board announced last month that the brains behind the revamped Belco Cup was someone whose primary brief should be to provide cost-effective electricity into our homes, my first thought was to have a bit of a chuckle.
“Who is running cricket and its competitions? The BCB or Belco?”
Having driven around the grounds last weekend to have a first look at the cricket season in earnest, a sense of disappointment replaced the humour. The standard was not what I remember, but in that regard, at least I was forewarned. But what I did not anticipate was that, after making such a big play of opening this competition to a whopping ten teams — effectively giving domestic cricket a second Knockout Cup — Belco had done nothing to spread its brand to the masses.
At White Hill Field, at Southampton Oval, at St John's Field and at Sea Breeze Oval, there was nothing to suggest that what was going on was the Belco Cup. What's more, at Southampton, there was not even tea put on for Cleveland and Devonshire Rec.
The closest that I got to determining whether this event was sponsored was when I reached St John's Field and spotted a solitary Coca-Cola advertising hoarding on the eastern boundary. A Coke or two might have come in handy for those poor souls at Southampton Oval when they took their innings break.
The likelihood is that the aforementioned shortcomings will be addressed this weekend for the semi-finals and final, but an opportunity to support Denton Williams's bold pronouncement that this will be “the best Belco Cup ever” was well and truly missed.
What last weekend did, apart from provide a semi-final pairing that would have been the same had the BCB (oops, Belco) left well enough alone, was place the leading teams from 2013 at a distinct disadvantage. St David's and Southampton make their seasonal debuts tomorrow, while Willow Cuts and Cleveland will be playing their third matches!
Surely, Williams, the chief operating officer at Belco whose “brainchild” this new, devalued Belco Cup is, would have foreseen the unfairness of it all were his immersion in cricket of the day-to-day basis rather than one-and-done. And what were the clever minds at the BCB thinking of when they rubber-stamped it?
My guess is that no one from Belco, and not too many at BCB executive level, saw a ball bowled last weekend. For if they had, they would have realised that there was absolutely no need for proof that Somerset Bridge have no right being on the same pitch as Willow Cuts, who treated their innings as practice for the first half (104 for one after 24) and then launched missiles into the stratosphere around White Hill on the way to making a massive 441 for four, the “four” including two century-makers who are recorded as “declared out”.
The best Belco Cup ever? Not from what I saw — and that is even before we begin to consider the standard of the cricket on display.
Long after this weekend is forgotten, its residue will stain the league programme. No longer will teams lobby for position in the top four. Why? There is no motivation to do so, other than bragging rights if you cannot win the league and are clear of relegation. And even for those destined for the drop, the carrot of the 2015 Belco Cup is still there, shining bright; a reminder of how badly the men in suits cocked it up.
The BCB is doing a good enough job on its own of reinventing the wheel to dizzying effect — see the bafflingly ridiculous league bonus points system, more on that later, perhaps — it does not need a sponsor to step in and give it new problems.
The moral of this rant? Organising bodies organise; sponsors sponsor (and thank you very much for it).