That is the general feeling among observers following yesterday’s boycott by the Barbados Association of Principals for Public Secondary Schools (BAPPSS) of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Everton Weekes Under-13 Final between Foundation and Combermere at Bank Hall, due to unhappiness over a couple amended regulations relating to the 2017 domestic season.
And the fact that it is the second time in three seasons BAPPSS has staged a boycott at a crucial juncture makes one wonder if communication between the two parties is really that difficult.
Soon after the Under-13 semi-finals on Tuesday, there were whispers of a “possible protest” of the Final, among other crucial issues raised by clubs at a recent meeting with BCA officials.
Let’s say there were some very strong messages of what is likely to come during the season if certain key concerns are not addressed soon.
For all of the pros and cons being put on the table, the genesis of the current squabbling is in the promotion and relegation system which was introduced in 2009 and then came seriously under the microscope a few years later when ironically, Foundation and Combermere, as school teams, gained promotion to the First division after winning the Intermediate division Championship.
Barbados Youth (for many years known as Combined Schools) are exempt from demotion from the top two three-day Championships – Elite and First division. But based on increasingly poor performances in recent years in the Elite division (rebranded from First division in 2012), the BCA Board was adamant that the strongest team be selected for all competitions.
At the start of the 2015 season, BAPPSS boycotted all matches involving school teams in BCA competitions due to a selection issue.
That matter remains contentious. Now BAPPSS is further aggrieved by a BCA regulation, which states under “Promotion and Relegation”: “From the BCA 2017 season, no school team shall be eligible for promotion beyond the Intermediate Division.
“If the winner of any division is ineligible for promotion, the second placed team shall be promoted.
“Only the winners of divisions or teams which have placed second shall be eligible for promotion”.
A section of Rule 18 (a) under Membership of Clubs and Composition of teams has also upset BAPPSS.
It states: “Where a player is selected to represent the Barbados Youth in any BCA administered domestic competition but instead plays for his school, all points gained by said school in that series shall be forfeited.”
Informed sources have said that three players, who were selected for Barbados Youth for the first three series of matches in the 2017 Sagicor General Twenty20 and Super Cup Tournaments, did not play. Instead, they turned out for their school. Has any action been taken?
As a reminder, Foundation won the Intermediate division title in 2013 and were promoted to the First division in 2014, while Combermere were the Intermediate division champions in 2014, thus moving to the First division in 2015.
Understandably, both Foundation and Combermere would want to have full strength sides, while at the same time, the BCA is sticking to its position of having the strongest Barbados Youth team for all competitions.
There are some observers who have constantly argued that playing for one’s school should come ahead of representing Barbados Youth.
It remains an embarrassing situation.
Two seasons ago, the BCA Board of Management overwhelmingly voted (11-1) for the best team to be selected for Barbados Youth before the two school sides in the First division – Foundation and Combermere – pick their squads.
That did not meet favour with BAPPSS and hence there was the boycott at the start of the season.
At a subsequent BCA Board of Management meeting, which “discussed at length the issues and concerns surrounding the impasse”, the BCA said in a Press release 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”:
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 Barbados Youth Team in these competitions.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.§ 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”.
Fast forward to 2017. Is there seriously any change?
In the current crisis, Rule 16, under the heading of “Control” is worth noting.
It says: “The Board of Management of the Barbados Cricket Association (hereinafter referred to as (”the Board”) shall have power from time to time to revise, alter or amend these Regulations or any of them and shall control and regulate all competitions.
“The Board shall have power from time to time to decide in which divisions Clubs shall compete and shall have power to promote or relegate any Club from one division to another. Any Club which desires to take part in any competition for the first time must give notice in writing to the Secretary of the Association of such desire, not later than the last day of January in the year in which such Club proposes to take part, and any Club, which having competed in one division desires to compete in another, must give similar notice.”
Honestly, one must feel sorry for the young cricketers who are victims of a communication problem, which should have been solved well in advance of the start of the season.
Please, forget the egos and remember the slogan: “Cricket at the core of National Development!”
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:[email protected]