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Culture of lateness


HAYDN GILL

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A WORRYING trend is starting to develop on the local club cricket circuit.
It surrounds the issue of tardiness.
In recent years, there has been an increasing number of instances where clubs and players have been guilty of failing to maintain acceptable levels of punctuality records.
I have been following the game at Division 1 level since the 1980s and it has only been in recent seasons that I have observed that teams have lost matches for failing to have the required number of players at the start of a day’s play.
The latest came last week Saturday when newly-promoted Old Brigand Dover could muster only six players at the beginning of the day, one fewer than the seven needed to have a quorum.
I am aware there were some circumstances that genuinely prevented some players from getting to the ground on time. Two players were on their way when their vehicle’s tyre got punctured.
What about the rest of the players? For a team with such an outstanding record in the lower divisions and having waited so long to gain a deserved promotion to Division 1, Dover’s forfeiture of the match is nothing short of an embarrassment.
Apart from gaining no points from the match, it will leave a psychological scar on the club for the rest of the season in which they seem to be behind the eight ball in trying to avoid demotion.
The other Division 1 teams to lose by default in recent seasons were Empire, another club with a long tradition of success and the Barbados Defence Force  Sports Programme, an institution where punctuality should be a way of life.
In addition to those, a glance through the scores in the lower divisions in the SUNDAY SUN every week usually reveals instances of teams suffering from the loss of penalty runs because of their inability to have sufficient players at the start of the day.
In years gone by, it was the norm for Division 1 players to arrive at a ground at least half-hour prior to the start to prepare themselves for action.
Nowadays, it is common to see several players rushing to a ground a few minutes before the first ball.
I am conscious of the fact that many of our players work on Saturday mornings and many also have domestic responsibilities to attend to. Be that as it may, I am however of the view that too many of our cricketers lack discipline when it comes to punctuality.
How we turn that around might present a challenge.
In an amateur set-up, harsh penalties might not be the way to go, but a message needs to be sent before things get way out of hand.
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