A definite decision has now been made by the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) to pull stumps on the 2017 Sir Everton Weekes Under-13 Limited Overs Final.
This comes in the aftermath of the Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools’ (BAPPSS) decision to boycott the deciding championship game last week Thursday, May 25, at the Empire Cricket Club. BCA officials, the umpires and spectators had arrived at the Bank Hall, St Michael ground with high expectations of participating in and witnessing a competitive final between defending champions Combermere and Christ Church Foundation School. It never materialized.
Since its inception in the 1990s, this is the first time a final was not contested in the history of the tournament and the BCA through a press release Tuesday stated that having considered all circumstances that have led to this point there would be no rescheduling of the final which had initially cost the Joel Garner administration over BDS$7,000.
The letter suggested that BAPPSS had grievances that emerged from playing conditions issued on April 21, 2017 and that the BCA did not receive any correspondence from BAPPSS on the said issue of the rules prior to last week Thursday, May 25, 2017.
“The grievances outlined had nothing to do with the rules governing the Sir Everton Weekes Under-13 competition and, consequently, had nothing to do with the boys who worked hard to reach the final. Yet, BAPPSS stated in their letter ‘we are requesting an urgent meeting between the Board of the BCA and BAPPSS/ASCC to resolve these issues. Until then, the U13 Final will not be played’. It is unfortunate that BAPPS chose to use those boys as a negotiating tool on a matter unrelated to the Under-13 competition.
“BAPPSS informed of their grievances [through a letter] and, at the same time, advised that they would not be playing the final until the BCA meets with them to discuss the matter. In effect, the letter attempted to place the BCA in a position where it would be holding discussions under duress,” the release stated.
The 14-member BCA board is prepared to discuss matters with BAPPSS at a date convenient to both parties but insisted that those talks should be done through a collaborative exercise and different to tactics previously used to embarrass the association.
“The BCA stands ready to discuss with member clubs and schools any concerns they may have, but insists that such discussions should take place by way of a collaborative process rather than being precipitated by extreme action designed to place the BCA on the proverbial ‘back foot’. The Barbados Cricket Association will be making arrangements to meet with BAPPSS to discuss this matter in the context of overall cricket development and preparation of the nation’s young cricketers for higher national duty. However, it must be clear to all parties that, while the BCA believes it is prudent to take into consideration the views of all clubs and schools, it reserves the right to set the rules for all competitions held under its auspices,” the letter read.
This is not the first time BAPPSS has shown its displeasure as it relates to the BCA and the implementation or revision of rules. In 2015 a similar situation occurred when BAPPSS bowled over the governing body for local cricket by taking a strong decision not to participate in the BCA competition. Back then the schools expressed concerns that the rules put in place by the BCA would put them at a disadvantage. Three years later they are singing the same tune with this current saga when the cricket association in its Special Conditions and Regulations of Play revised its 2017 promotion rule that prevents other teams from joining Combermere and Christ Church Foundation in the Division One competition.
Apart from those two, no other secondary school team will be eligible for promotion beyond the Intermediate Division, which means that if a school team were to be successful in winning the Intermediate title they would still be ineligible for promotion.
Since withdrawing from the Under-13 tournament, BAPPSS has failed to voice a comment on the issue.
Last week BCA director of cricket Steven Leslie was not amused at the stance taken by BAPPSS and expressed his dismay at the turn of events.
“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.
“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 said then, while suggesting the BCA had to take a firm grip before things got more out of hand.