After boycotting all matches involving school teams in Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) competitions at the start of the 2015 domestic season last weekend due to a selection issue, and then getting one of their major wishes met, the Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools (BAPPSS) is making a couple more telling requests to the ruling body.
And according to the latest information which has been fed to this columnist, the BCA should respectfully grant BAPPSS their demands and then seriously re-visit the promotion and relegation system, which was introduced six seasons ago and is now their Achilles heel.
Last Friday, this column gave the background to the issue and made it clear that BAPPS was on course for an “overwhelming victory”.
With that achieved, the BCA Board of Management, at a meeting last Monday night, “discussed at length the issues and concerns surrounding the impasse”.
In a Press release, the BCA noted that “the Directors of the Board also reviewed the position of the teams playing in the Sagicor General T20 and 50 Overs competitions and after giving due consideration to the teams playing in these competitions decided as follows”:
(1) The two schools playing in these competitions viz. Christ Church Foundation and Combermere may choose their teams from all of their available players and hence no players from those two schools will be chosen to represent the Guardian General Youth Team in these competitions.
(2) The current regulation [18 (b)(iv)] which allows Schools to be represented by a maximum of three (3) masters or members of staff in any one match has been maintained.
(3) The team to represent the Barbados Youth in the First Division would be selected from players from all Schools except Combermere and Foundation. This team would also be selected on Tuesdays and forwarded to the Schools at the same time as the Elite team.
It further noted that “the Board of Management of the BCA deeply regrets the failure of the schools to participate in the first two rounds of the 2015 Sagicor General T20 competition and the other competitions administered by the BCA over the last weekend but eagerly looks forward to the schools participating in all upcoming matches”.
Now in response, the following is a letter from Vere Parris, the president of BAPPSS and principal of Combermere School, to interim Chief Executive Officer of the BCA, David Deane:
20 May 2015
The Chief Executive Officer
Barbados Cricket Association
“I am in receipt of your correspondence dated May 20, 2015 and received by hand in the afternoon on the said date. In that correspondence, you pointed out that the Board of Management of the BCA had agreed to some of the requests made by BAPPSS and the ASCC. Those points of agreement included the following:
The schools playing in the BCA First Division Competition (Christ Church Foundation and Combermere) “. . . may choose their teams from all of their available players and hence no players from those two schools will be chosen to represent the Guardian General Barbados Youth Team . . .” in the Sagicor General T20 and 50-Overs competitions.
Schools could be represented by a “. . . maximum of three (3) masters or members of staff in any one match …” in accordance with the current Regulation 18 b (iv). Clarification was sought on this in a telephone conversation (Deane, Howard/Parris) on 20 May 2015 and it was made clear by you that those three masters/staff could include recent past scholars who are functioning in the capacity as assistant coaches. They would be deemed coach/players.
“The team to represent the Barbados Youth in the First Division would be selected from players from all schools except Combermere and Foundation.”
In a telephone conversation (Howard/Parris) on 20 May 2015, in discussing the unresolved issues, Mr Howard gave the assurance that selection to the Barbados representative teams in the regional competitions would no longer be restricted to players who represented the Barbados Youth Elite and First Division teams, as was earlier stated. BAPPSS is hereby requesting that this be communicated in writing.
We express appreciation for the Board’s understanding and decisions on the above-stated issues and agree to allow the schools’ cricketers to play games organized by the BCA with immediate effect, on condition that the remaining matters of disagreement be reviewed by the Board on or before 1 June 2015. This agreement to play therefore, at the moment, excludes games to be played in the First Division and Elite competitions.
BAPPSS and the ASCC maintain their joint position that any school teams playing in the BCA First Division should not be required to cede more than two (2) schoolboy cricketers to the Barbados Youth team in the Elite Competition. This is based on grounds of fairness and commitment to school sponsors to be competitive while having their names associated with a good product. The natural expectation of the school team and school community that having been promoted to the First Division, that team would have access to its best players is well founded on the precedent that existed up to Season 2014.
It must be noted that April 17, 2015 was the first time that any school became aware that there was to be a change in this arrangement. This was four (4) weeks before the official start of the 2015 Cricket Season. For four (4) months, the BCA knew that there would be two school teams in the First Division competition, yet it waited until the proverbial eleventh hour to inform schools of such a drastic change of policy. This goes against all tenets of reasonableness, good organization and planning. In spite of this, BAPPSS and the ASCC, in acknowledging the BCA’s commitment to sponsors and desire to field competitive teams, acted in all reasonableness and compromise and moved from their position that no player from any school team in the First Division Competition should be required to play for the Barbados Youth in either the Elite or First Division competitions.
hey therefore agreed to allow the selection of no more than two (2) players from each team to represent the Barbados Youth in the Elite Competition. In all fairness, the schools cannot be expected to do more and await a revised decision by the BCA on this thorny issue.
With regard to competitions which started on 16 May 2015, BAPPSS and the ASCC hereby put forward two options for consideration.
1. To facilitate the playing of all Intermediate, Schools’ Zone and Second Division matches that should have started on the last weekend, a Sunday can be utilized to make up for the day lost.
2. Play all Schools’ Zone games ONLY, scheduling them for Saturday, Saturday, Sunday.
These are but recommendations for consideration.
We look forward to a continued close working relationship with the BCA, as we all seek to develop Barbados’ Youth Cricket.
Vere E Parris
Last Tuesday night on Mid Wicket, the Real Cricket Show on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, of which I have the privilege of moderating, my three guests –– Roderick Estwick, the long-standing cricket coach at Combermere School and spokesman for the BAPPS cricket committee; Nhamo Winn, cricket coach at Foundation School and vice-president of the Association of Schools’ Cricket Coaches (ASCC), and Winston Walter Stafford, a veteran BCA Board member and chairman of the BCA Scholarships and Placements committee, revealed quite a lot on the issue.
It gives me great pleasure to share a bit.
Estwick: “Obviously you put in a lot of work and I felt it [the original BCA decision] came a little bit too late as well. The [last] season finished on the 23rd of December, to be told that was going to be happening on the 3rd of May obviously offset your plans and left you in a difficult position. We couldn’t come to an agreement and it was a sad day in Barbados’ cricket. I thought it should have been sorted out a lot earlier.”
Winn: “We, the Cricket Council, obviously looked into the matter and we thought it was an injustice to schools’ cricket. And we met with BAPPSS and came to a serious decision”.
Stafford: “It was unfortunate that we had to have what I consider to be a difference of opinion in relation to the commencement of the cricket season.
“As Roddy has obviously said, it should have happened before. Let me start by saying I am not here to make any excuses for anything that might have gone wrong. I will apologise to the cricket loving people of Barbados that we ought to have seen this before and dealt with it long before the start of the season. But we have now reached a position, I think, where we can address this issue and provide probably a more solid foundation for cricket right across Barbados.
“I must say that we had a series of meetings commencing on the 15th of April and they went on until the 18th of May. In fact we had a meeting on the 17th of May and some of the meetings were non productive.
“Had we been a bit more familiar with one another, this would not have happened but the Board met and we had a very lengthy meeting last evening [Monday, May 18] and we discussed a sensible way forward and we have agreed on a number of things.”
Having digested all that has been stated from the parties, there is no doubt that BAPPS and ASCC are bent on carrying the BCA to the wire.
Keith Holder is a veteran, award-winning freelance sports journalist, who has been covering local, regional and international cricket since 1980 as a writer and commentator. He has compiled statistics on the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Division 1 (now Elite) championship for over three decades and is responsible for editing the BCA website (www.bcacricket.org). Holder is also the host of the cricket Talk Show, Mid Wicket, on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation 100.7 FM on Tuesday nights. Email: [email protected].