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Matters BCA must settle

Ezra Stuart

Matters BCA must settle

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Rather than?an exciting finish to the Barbados Cricket Association’s LIME Elite Championship, the season could end in controversy.
There seems to be two contentious issues which need to be settled by the BCA. One relates to the first series match between ICBL Empire and Carlton, when the umpires weren’t present for a rescheduled day, and the other during the last series when LIME lodged a protest over the failure of SuperCentre Spartan to produce a new ball to start their second innings.
With only the last two days remaining of the rescheduled first series match now set for September 28 and 29, ICBL?Empire lead the standings with 93 points, just two ahead of second-placed CGI Maple with Sagicor UWI third on 82 points and Pickwick fourth on 81.
These are the only four teams which have a mathematical chance of winning the title. Spartan (71), Republic Bank St Catherine (61), Carlton (56), the Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (53) and Guardian?General Barbados Youth are not in the running.
Since Barbados Youth are exempted from demotion, it now appears that Carlton and BDFSP?will be the ones under pressure as St Catherine eased their relegation worries by inflicting the first defeat on UWI in three years with a 128-run victory.
While the BCA?has not made a public statement, the fact that they did not include the game between Empire and Carlton in the fixtures among the other rescheduled first-round days, speaks for itself.
It has been suggested in some quarters that the BCA has communicated with the two clubs involved and that Empire are seeking arbitration. However, since any decision will affect the other eight competing teams, the BCA?needs to inform all and sundry of their decision.
Empire and Carlton were granted permission to continue their match on the original dates of May 11 and 12 even though all cricket under the BCA’s auspices, had been postponed to facilitate the playing of the regional four-day final in Barbados. The pitch at the Desmond Haynes Oval was prepared and the teams were present to continue the match but the umpires were absent.
This is what the BCA?rules state should obtain where one or both umpires are absent.
On Page 66, it says that: “In the event that there is only one or no umpire (s) present who have been appointed by the BCUA, the captains of the two teams shall appoint an umpire (s) who shall officiate until the arrival of the duly appointed umpire.
“If the two captains fail to agree on the appointment of the substitute umpire (s) the captain of the home team shall make the appointment.
“Both of the clubs engaged in the match (and the umpire if present) MUST make a report to the Secretariat of the BCA on any clubs which refuse to play in the absence of umpires from the BCUA.
What is also noteworthy is that on Page 57, No.27 on Awarding Points – it states: “The board of management of the BCA reserves the right to award points to any team meriting same or penalize any team by deduction of points and/or fines for breaches of any of the Laws or Special Conditions and Regulations under which its competitions are played.”    
Hence, I am pleading with the BCA that before they implement and roll out any strategic plan, they should, as priority No.1, be looking at the rules and regulations under which the teams play and try to eliminate the loopholes which some teams and their lawyers exploit when it suits them.
For example, with just seven minutes left of the first day’s play, LIME lodged a protest because Spartan didn’t have a new ball to start the second innings. Since, the BCA makes allowances to make up time by starting play early on the next day when the required number of overs are not bowled, those two overs could have been added on.
Where is the spirit of goodwill, friendship and sharing? You mean to tell me that LIME are so desperate for points that they couldn’t lend the careless Spartan team a new ball if they had one, like both Oran Bristol captain John Greaves and St Catherine’s then skipper Kenroy Williams did some years ago in acts of goodwill.
The very fact that the match continued on the second day and actually came to a conclusion – even though it was unfortunate that rain washed out the final day’s play – suggests it is unlikely that LIME would now win this game, especially since the BCA board “reserves its right of final responsibility in determining the result of a match”. But you never know what will happen in this LIME Elite competition.
Whereas the rules allow for it, one must really question how the lawmakers could arrive at a situation where a team could get the maximum 20 points in a game where the most they could’ve received, having failed to secure any batting points, would’ve been 16.
There were also a couple of recent declarations by teams which boggle the mind and the BCA may have to abandon the system for batting and bowling bonus points from next season.
Again on Page 53, Rule 24, it states under the caption Declaration that: “In addition to Law 14, which provides that the captain of the batting side may declare an innings closed at any time during a match irrespective of its duration . . .
(a)  The option of declaration is for the captain of the batting side only and the Law does not intend that any agreement should be reached by both captains together or any member or members of the team acting on behalf of the captain.
(b)  It shall be considered a serious breach of these Special Conditions and Regulations of Play for any team engaged in these competitions before the start or during the progress of a match to enter into any conspiracy, mutual agreement, contract or other undertaking with one or more other team or teams regarding the closing of any innings by formal declaration or otherwise.
(c)  Any teams found to be engaging in this practice shall forfeit any points gained in the match in question.”