By Neto Baptiste
Former West Indies fast bowler and President of the Liberta Sports Club, Kenneth Benjamin, has challenged the local cricket association to get tough on teams that forfeit matches during the national competitions.
“I don’t know if it is just not being enforced, but it should be in the playing conditions that if you forfeit a game you must pay all of the expenses
[associated with the game]
and plus, you have to be sanctioned that if you do it again within two years, you are out of the competition and these things have to be put in place and enforced,” he said.
“Whether one or two per season, this has been going on for quite a while because I remember some time ago that Kofi James was on 97 and Karima Gore was on 87 and Bolans refused to take the field after tea on the second day, denying them scoring hundreds. We wrote a report and nothing was done so this thing was going on for quite a while,” he added.
Speaking on OBSERVER Radio’s Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Benjamin’s comments followed the announcement that defending two-day cricket champions, Empire National, failed to advance to the semifinal round of the competition slated for 29th and 30th June.
The former speedster said the quality of the semis and the finals could be compromised as some teams would have gotten through the preliminary round after picking up “free points” from delinquent teams.
“When you look at the point standings, we [Blackhawks] got some free points from Bolans because they didn’t turn up, so we got 12 points. Jennings, who sit at fourth now got 36 points so what type of integrity are you bringing to the league? Isn’t this bringing the cricket into disrepute? I am sure every team somewhere got some free points, but it is too often now and how do you develop when people are not playing enough games,” he said.
Benjamin said it costs teams to prepare for matches, calling in unfair for others to just walk away unpunished while one team is left holding the bag.
“There is no reason why a team should forfeit. People prepare their lunch, their water, Gatorade, pay the bus and when you turn up, a team is not there and that’s it, or all they do is give you some free points and that is not enough. Who is going to pay the umpires and who is going to pay the match referees and so on?”
PIC Liberta Blackhawks and New Winthorpes Lions will clash in one of two semi-final matches, while SIC Jennings and Pigotts Crushers will play in the other semifinal.
Blackhawks and Lions will play in Liberta while Crushers and Jennings will clash in Pigotts.