No need to call off final
by EZRA STUARTTHE POSTPONEMENT of the Sagicor General Twenty20 final between ICBL Empire and Sagicor Life UWI, which was scheduled for Kensington Oval last Friday night, was totally unnecessary.I was completely surprised when I received a press release from the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) around 1:30 p.m., more than five hours before the scheduled starting time of 7 p.m., stating that the game was off.What was even more shocking was that the BCA gave as the reason for the postponement the flood watch issued at noon on the same day by the Barbados Meteorological Services.“The BCA regrets any inconvenience which this decision may cause but considers that the safety of the players, officials and spectators is of paramount importance and must take precedence over any other considerations,” the BCA said in explaining its decision.Flood watchNow, this flood watch – which is nothing more than a precaution – was in effect until 6 p.m., an hour before the scheduled start. The watch was subsequently discontinued.Over the years, whenever there is heavy and persistent rainfall, the Met Office usually issues such warnings, so this is nothing new, and it begs the question, why did the BCA made such a hasty decision?The truth of the matter is that the safety of no one was under threat. The country certainly wasn’t under threat and while there was indeed inclement weather with morning to midday showers, there was hardly any flooding in any part of the island.Barbadians were going about their usual business like their do on Friday afternoons, throughout Bridgetown and other parts of the country.What is also noteworthy is that while the BCA was issuing its release, a match in the annual Garfield Sobers Schools International Tournament was being played at the North Stars Club ground in Crab Hill, St Lucy, where the Barbados Community College defeated St Mary’s College by 35 runs.With the upgraded drainage system at the “Mecca” where once the rain abates, there is the possibility of cricket within half-hour or as soon as the groundstaff remove the covers. The BCA did not have to rush to defer the match. Excellent weatherAt least the organisers of Pork LIME, Brewster’s Road and Oistins Fish Fry didn’t panic and all these events went ahead as usual in the excellent weather conditions that prevailed all night and were well patronised. I expect the BCA to come with an excuse about having to plan and put the necessary mechanisms in place from early. But being in Fontabelle, just a stone’s throw away from Kensington, all Friday afternoon, I can safely say that there was no rainfall in that vicinity between 3:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. last Friday. It meant that the game would not have been interrupted.The postponement wasn’t warranted, unless there were other unstated reasons, like fear that several spectators would not attend, taking into consideration the inclement weather earlier in the day and the lack of hype and minimal advertisement of the final, with only a last-minute Press conference the previous day.Blessing in disguiseFrom that perspective, the decision to defer may yet be a blessing in disguise, and I’m urging the organisers and particularly the sponsors, who have supported cricket in this country for many years, to step up their publicity of the event, now that the football World Cup is over. With Crop-Over getting into full swing, let’s get a party atmosphere at this T20 final.At the time of completing this article on Monday, the BCA had still not announced a new date for the final. Could this indicate that there wasn’t a Plan “B”?