“I think it is a disservice . . . I think today cricket has lost out . . . When a competition bears the name of one of our greatest pioneers, I think that respect has to be shown.”
Those were the strong sentiments expressed by the Barbados Cricket Association’s (BCA) director of cricket, Steven Leslie, after both defending champions Combermere and Christ Church Foundation School boycotted the final of the Sir Everton Weekes BCA Under-13 cricket competition at the Empire Cricket Ground, Bank Hall, St Michael Thursday.
The match was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. At 10.25 a.m. Randolph McCollin and Michael Nurse of the Barbados Cricket Umpires Association inspected the wicket and from 10:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. when the toss was supposed to be taken neither of the two teams had yet showed up for the final. Play was eventually called off at 11:30 a.m. with BCA’s cricket operations officer, Nichola Greaves and scorer Ashtyn Forde being among the officials present.
According to Leslie, the BCA received a telephone call after 5 p.m. Wednesday and a letter early Thursday morning from the Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools (BAPPS) expressing concerns about relegations within the BCA’s local competition. But Leslie added the BCA hoped that the two schools with great cricketing history between them would have taken the field of play and resolve any unfinished issues afterwards.
The ongoing saga between the BCA and BAPPS came up again a couple days ago when the cricket association in itsSpecial Conditions and Regulations of Playrevised its 2017-promotion rule that hampers other school teams from joining Combermere and Christ Church Foundation in the Division One competition while also utilizing its right to have the best youth cricketers play for Barbados Youth. Apart from those two schools, no school team shall be eligible for promotion beyond the intermediate Division. Therefore if a school team were to be successful in winning the intermediate trophy they still would not be rewarded through promotion.
“I think it is a disservice today where we have a situation where the boys have not been afforded the opportunity [to play]…. Persons need to realize it is not about us as administrators or us within the executive arms of the respective entities, it is about us the cricketers on the field. As it stands, it is something that was very possible and I was hoping they would have taken the chance to compete on the field of play,” said Leslie, who was adamant that the BCA had to take a firm grip before things got more out of hand.
“Be that as it may, we believe that the Barbados Cricket Association has the remit, and to take control in terms of managing cricket in Barbados. You will see we have all the logistics in place, all that happen is the teams have not shown and we were hoping that once we go forward that we have a situation where persons can recognize that even in deliberations that you need to be frank, you need to be firm, honest but certainly I think today cricket has lost out and these young men, their parents, their supporters, everybody involved, they are the persons today who I believe have been done a disservice,” he explained.
And as to whether the two teams will be penalized for their failure to show up, Leslie noted the BCA would first communicate to everyone in the schools before a decision was made.
The director of cricket was clearly not pleased about negativity being associated with a competition bearing the name of Sir Everton Weekes or any other cricketing legend. “If schools or other entities have an issue with it [BCA], we must still respect that sort of legacy. And we are at Empire Club, this particular venue was chosen deliberately . . . we have had a hundred and twenty-five years of organized cricket in Barbados, I believe in the Sir Everton Weekes legacy, we need to pay more respect to the game or else it will go away from us,” he said.
This is not the first time BAPPS has bowled over the BCA with such an embarrassing situation. In 2015 the schools informed the Joel ‘Big Bird’ Garner-led administration that they would not take the field of play after the BCA implemented a rule which stated that if a player from a school team was selected to represent the Barbados Youth team in the top BCA competition but the player decided to play for his school, all points gained by that school would be forfeited.
Leslie made it clear that going forward persons needed to recognize that the BCA had a management board responsible for instituting rules that should be respected and adhered too.
“The BCA has a board of management and what people need to appreciate is that the board of management of the BCA sets policies. The director of cricket, chief executive officer, we are persons that execute that policy. So if we make any sort of representation whether it is in a regulation, recognize that it is a BCA board of management decision. BAPPS should appreciate that. So any discussion that would resolve these types of matters would have to be a decision between the BCA board of management and BAPPS and what we will do, we will execute in the interest of cricket based on those deliberations,” he said.
After play was called off this morningBarbados TODAY visited one of the two schools involved in the boycott to speak to president of BAPPS and principal of Combermere, Vere Parris, but he refused to comment on the matter.