`Venom’ ball sparks Bajan cricket row

(Barbados Nation) Sagicor UWI’s protest against BNB St Catherine over the use of a “venom” ball in last Sunday’s Sagicor General Super Cup semi-final has been dismissed by the Barbados Cricket Association’s (BCA) Complaints and Disputes Committee.

But even though the BCA announced Wednesday that the “status quo of the game therefore remains”, the day/night final, which was scheduled for Kensington Oval Thursday between St Catherine and the Guardian General Barbados Youth has been put on hold until the organising committee sets a new date.

The decision follows a three-and-a-half hour meeting at Kensington Oval on Tuesday night in which the committee, comprising chairman Philip Nicholls, Michael Thompson and Jeffrey Mascoll, heard submissions from representatives of UWI and St Catherine as well as evidence from the match officials and the BCA’s cricket operations manager, Rollins Howard.

In a press release on Wednesday, the BCA said it was agreed by all parties that there was only one central issue, and that was to decide if St Catherine, by virtue of using a venom ball, were in breach of Rule 14 (b) of playing conditions.

“After careful consideration of the evidence and the various submissions, the Committee has found “that St Catherine did not breach Rule 14 (b) by use of this ball and that the result should stand. The status quo of the game therefore remains and the protest has been dismissed,” the BCA said in its release.

Rule 14B of the playing conditions states that “only four-piece white coloured balls provided by the BCA shall be used for the competition.” No reference was made to a ball carrying the BCA logo.

Queens Counsel Ralph Thorne, who represented St Catherine at the hearing, told NATION SPORT it was clear that the St Philip-based club, which easily won the match by six wickets, did not contravene the tournament rules as claimed in UWI’s protest which alleged their opponents had used a ball that did not conform to the regulations of the competition.

“St Catherine is more than a sports club. It is the symbol of the fierce pride and strong sense of identity that characterise the people of St Philip. It was my profound pleasure to defend the honour and integrity of this worthy group in their successful resistance to UWI’s complaint,” Thorne said.

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