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Trophy theft stumps cricket officials

Allan Douglas Jr celebrates the end of Cleveland's 33-year wait to grab hold of the Eastern Counties Cup after their heroic exploits last summer. A new pursuit begins much sooner than expected after thieves made off with the replica over the holidays (File photo by Nicola Muirhead)

Police are investigating the theft of a replica of the Eastern Counties Cricket Association trophy that was stolen from the clubhouse of holders Cleveland County.

Carlton “Pluke” Smith, the Cleveland County president, confirmed yesterday that the trophy was stolen along with two bottles of liquor from his club’s premises on Harrington Sound Road.

“It’s not the way we wanted to start the new year,” Mr Smith, a former Cleveland cricketer, said. “People are actually cracking jokes about it saying ‘it’s either Flatts, St David’s or Bailey’s Bay that stole it’?”.

It is believed that the theft occurred between Wednesday night and yesterday morning.

“Our janitor was setting up for the day and noticed that the cup was missing along with a bottle of Hennessey and Chivas,” Mr Smith said. “I contacted all of my executives to see if anyone had borrowed the cup because people have taken it to church before. But none of the executives took it, so the matter was reported to the Police.”

Cleveland officials have not ruled out offering a reward for the return of the trophy.

“We are looking at possibly putting out a cash reward for the return of the cup,” Mr Smith said. “It baffles me why anyone would want to take the cup.

“I guess they needed something to drink the Hennessey and the Chivas they also took out of the club.”

Cleveland regained the Eastern Counties trophy for the first time in more than three decades last summer after dethroning St David’s County Cricket Club in the opening round at Sea Breeze Oval.

The Harris Bay club then successfully defended the trophy against Bailey’s Bay and Flatts Victoria Recreation Club in the remaining rounds.

“Thankfully the trophy that was stolen is only a replica,” Mr Smith added.

“The original trophy is safely secured in a safe.”

Steven Douglas, the Eastern Counties Cricket Association president, could not be reached for comment.