An early dent has been put in the pride of Sagicor Life UWI in the BCA Elite division Championship as they find themselves in a “strange” position.
Arguably the most decorated team in the major three-day Competition with five titles including a modern-era record of four on the trot since their entry in 2006, the defending champions have lost two matches in the first three rounds and languish in the bottom half of the table.
Points: Massy Stores Spartan 53, CounterPoint Wanderers 50, ICBL Empire 35, BDFSP 34, Massy United Insurance Wildey 27, Police 26, Brathwaite Construction/Crane Resort St. Catherine 24, UWI 24, Sierka Rentals Maple 23, Guardian General Barbados Youth 7.
UWI lost by 48 runs to Wanderers at 3Ws Oval in the first series and by 97 runs against St. Catherine at Bayfield last Sunday. They beat Police by ten wickets at 3Ws Oval.
It is only the second time that UWI have been defeated twice in a season. The other was in 2010 – one year after the promotion and demotion system was introduced and 14 teams competed.
And St. Catherine now boast of being the only side to beat UWI three times in the period under review and even more telling, in four seasons.
In 2010, UWI lost by five wickets to Carlton in the third series and by six wickets to Banks (now Wildey) in the 11th series – both at 3Ws Oval.
Research shows that the defeat against Carlton was the first time in 32 matches UWI had been beaten on the field.
For the sake of records and those who like to pay close attention to the fortunes of UWI, in 2009, they were listed as having ‘lost’ one match by way of forfeiture against Wanderers. That seventh round encounter at 3Ws Oval ended in a draw but Wanderers lodged a complaint, centred on the use of an incorrect ball by UWI, as well as the inclusion in their team of a player who was ineligible.
As far as the two defeats in 2010 were concerned, the scores were: V Carlton: UWI 278 all out (61.2 overs) and 114 all out (29.3 overs); Carlton 219 all out (58.1 overs) and 174 for five (43.3 overs). V Banks: UWI 305-6 declared (70 overs) and 122-5 declared (19.2 overs); Banks 216 all out (65.2 overs) and 214-4 (31.2 overs).
This season, the scores for the losses were: V Wanderers: Wanderers 213 all out (67.1 overs) and 236-6 declared (44.5 overs); UWI 141 all out (39.5 overs) and 250 all out (71.1 overs). V St. Catherine: St. Catherine 153 all out (57.1 overs) and 187 all out (64 overs); UWI 120 all out (44.3 overs) and 123 all out (41.3 overs).
St. Catherine’s other wins over UWI were by seven wickets in Series 1 last year and by 128 runs towards the end of the 2013 season – both at 3Ws Oval.
To underline their dominance, since 2006, UWI have lost just ten, while winning 41 of 105 matches.
And prior to the 2013 defeat against St. Catherine, UWI had been unbeaten for 29 matches.
It is no secret that UWI are always under the microscope since it is generally felt that they have an advantage over the other teams on account of a large pool of players including many with first-class experience, plus excellent practice facilities.
After capturing all three major titles last year (Elite, Twenty20 and 50-over) for an unprecedented second time – the other was in 2012 – I stated that their head coach Floyd Reifer “must be highly praised for the work, which he has put in”.
“And with fellow former Barbados and West Indies player Ryan Hinds joining the team this season (2015) as an assistant coach and player, the all-round strength has been significantly enhanced. Hinds had spent the last 11 seasons with Empire,” I wrote.
In trying to find reasons for their disappointing showing so far in the Elite division Competition, I went through the list of players used last season and those to date.
There were 22 players in 2015 including eight Barbadians – Floyd Reifer, Ryan Hinds, Justin Bramble, Kyle Corbin, Jonathan Carter, Anthony Alleyne, Dawayne Sealy and Warren Scantlebury.
The other members were Paul Palmer, Rovman Powell, Kavem Hodge, Cameron Pennyfeather, Keron Cottoy, Akeem Dewar, Jermaine Levy, Shaquille Williams, Kristopher Ramsaran, Shaquille Martina, Nino Henry, Chadwick Walton, Jeremiah Louis and Benedick Prince.
Of that full list, Hinds, Bramble, Corbin, Carter, Hodge, Henry, Dewar, Levy and Williams have all played this season with Hinds, Bramble, Levy and Williams turning out in all three rounds.
The others on show have been Kyle Hinkson, Vikash Mohan, Shaquille Payne, Wilfred Prince, Larry Edward and Linton Buchanan.
UWI’s impressive record in the top three BCA competitions must be always respected. They have five titles in the Elite division (rebranded from Division 1 in 2012) – 2009, 2010 (shared with Spartan), 2011, 2012 and 2015); three in the Super Cup – 2007, 2012 and 2015 and a record four in the nine-year history of the Twenty20 – 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016.
What has transpired in the Elite division so far must be of some concern to the “big men” at Cave Hill. And you can bet they will find a way to step up and prove why they have been such a force to be reckoned with.
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 three-and-a-half 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: Keithfholder@gmail.com