As you are aware, on the 28th October, 2012 the Demerara Cricket Club (DCC) and Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) were engaged in the finals of the GCA/Queensway 50 Over match. The game was considered to be a competitive one to determine who will attain supremacy of the Georgetown clubs. GCC batted first and scored 345 for 8 from their 50 overs. DCC replied with 323 for 9 after 48 overs, at which point the two umpires stopped the game and declared the defending champions winners, giving them the second GCA Open Cup title.
With that background then, Editor, please permit me some space to raise a few issues that are of grave concern to the Demerara Cricket Club.
First of all, the match started around 9:30am, but it is widely known in Guyana that the light begins to fade much earlier after September 30 in any given year and this fact should have been taken into consideration and allowed for the important finals to begin earlier. The ground was in good shape and the weather was forecasted to be good. There was a briefing the previous day by the GCA on what is expected of the teams and how they should conduct themselves during the game. In short, all was set for an enthralling encounter.
I am happy to note that both teams observed the rules and the match was played in the spirit expected by its administrators. However, while most organisational aspects of the game were addressed, there was a key shortcoming that brought a cloud of uncertainty to a great match amongst rival teams. Everyone would agree that a match of this nature, played under the rules established by the International Cricket Council (ICC) would ensure a great game. However, in the end, I was shocked by the revelation that a system other than the well-established Duckworth Lewis Method was employed to declare the winners of the match. Editor, you would be aware that in the modern game of cricket, it is the Duckworth/Lewis method this is used to determine the winners of matches that are truncated for one reason or another.
It is my considered view that, irrespective of the system used to determine the winner of the game which was not completed in accordance with the predetermined regulation, in this case each team batting a maximum of 50 overs, each team should have been provided with clear guidelines that would be applied in the event that changes had to be made because of weather, lighting or any other unforeseen circumstances. Such information would not only be indicative of proper planning and ensuring fairness of opportunity, but also would have ensured that each team was aware of the required adjustments to be made to their game plan in the event of any of the circumstances arising. Providing this kind of information before hand is the usual and standard practice in all limited over matches and is a constant feature aimed at raising the bar for cricket locally, regionally and internationally.
With the GCA executive boasting former national and test cricketers as well as some who have managed national teams, all of whom one would reasonably expect to be fully aware of these situations in their playing days, I am left to wonder how, collectively, they could miss this critical area which in effect allowed for one team to have an advantage over the other in the end. This oversight is highly unusual, questionable and totally unacceptable. If such an oversight had occurred in a competitive finals organised by another Association, Board or other level, I am sure the members of the GCA would have lamented and rightfully berated the organisers, especially if their charges were at the receiving end of such an unfortunate outcome of a game. Let me hasten to add that the DCC is fully aware that the on field concussion and subsequent injury suffered by Christopher Barnwell did result in some valuable playing time being lost in the game. That fact notwithstanding, I expected the GCA and their appointed officials would have acted decisively at the time of the delay and made whatever adjustments were deemed necessary with the full knowledge and input of the competing teams. Sadly, Editor, as the records now show, no such decisive action was taken.
Additionally, we feel that a serious blunder has been made by the GCA regarding absence of a medical team or physiotherapist at the venue for this all-important fixture. As the custodian of the game in the City, the GCA is obligated to ensure that these necessary corollaries are in place whenever there is cricket organised under its auspices, even more at a grand event like the one under discussion. My point is, more care for safety and health should have been taken in the interest and welfare of the contesting players, who included some who have represented both Guyana and the West Indies, especially given the fact that some GCA administrators are seeking higher office.
Finally, Editor, the Demerara Cricket Club is strongly of the view, and wishes to underscore for future reference its belief, that the official decision to bring the match to a halt without first having established what rules would apply in such a case is most unfortunate and, to my mind, an affront to natural justice. As was already alluded to, the umpires should have consulted both captains on this situational delay to have a consensus on a timeline for completing the game. An agreement could have been reach as to the cut off time or an agreed reduced number of overs.
As a club, we are extremely hurt and aggrieved at this and other recent situations, and while we unequivocally condemn the GCA/NBS fiasco, we also would like answers provided for the following:
a) De Sinco Under 13 Competition 2011 – the DCC won this tournament and to date have not received our prize money and medals as promised and promoted by the GCA.
b) GCA/NBS Second Division 40 Over 2012 – the DCC are the runners-up in this competition, but our prize money and other individual incentives are being withheld by the GCA.
c) GCA/Queensway Competition 2012 – the DCC are runners-up but the GCA is unilaterally withdrawing and setting off the $15,000 fine in a matter that is still unsettled.
Demerara Cricket Club