Cricket association clubs row over scheduling

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A scheduling row has erupted between the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) and some clubs after one team’s request for its seminal match to be played at a particular venue was ignored.
Four teams, Bolans, Bethesda Golden Eagles, Liberta Blackhawks and Pigotts Crushers are set to meet in the semifinals of the ABCA’s Super40 on Saturday. Liberta and Bolans, after finishing first and second in the preliminaries, were earmarked to host matches.
The schedule, although showing that Liberta would host Pigotts in Liberta, reflected that Bolans would travel to Bethesda instead of host at a venue it chose.
Noting that Bolans had not played at home for the past five matches owing to the unavailability of the playing field, senior player and one member of the coaching staff, Earl Waldron, said he was shocked when he learnt that the match was scheduled for Bethesda, even after having informed the cricket association of two other venues they would prefer to utilise.
“When it came down to the fact that we finished second, I called the association Tuesday and I told them we won’t be able to host, based on the timing I gave them, so I suggested that if it is possible that we can play our home games at either Jennings or the Rising Sun playing field but unfortunately there was no real dialogue to us from the association concerning the situation until I reached out to them. We are disappointed because we thought that after coming second, we would have at least had a say in where the semifinal is played,” he said. 
However, Vice President of the cricket association, Kenny Lewis, who is also President of the Bethesda Sports Club, said the rules of the competition do not dictate that the teams finishing at the top of the standings must host matches in the semifinals or finals.
He explained that the association was still of the understanding that Bolans was still without a home venue when the semifinal venues were decided.
“On the fixture, it also says that the ABCA reserves the right to change the venue for any game at any time, but not withstanding that, Bolans had five home games which they played Empire at Empire [King George] which was a Bolans home game, Rising Sun at Rising Sun [East Bus Station] which was a Bolans home game, Combined Schools at Factory and the game Saturday in Bethesda was Bolans home game. In all those times that Bolans was on the road, Jennings’ field was available, Rising Sun’s field was available, and at no time did Bolans make a request saying this was going to be our home venue,” the VP said.
President of the Liberta Sports Club, Kenneth Benjamin, who weighed in on the discussion, said he has been asking, for some time now, that changes be made to the rules guiding the selection of venues and that they be written into the playing conditions.
“I don’t care which ground but you need to name the ground where the final is going to be played early. If you want to say at the stadium [Vivian Richards Cricket Ground), Liberta or All Saints because you have nine rounds of matches and you have a team that comes first and what do you get for coming first, nothing,” he said.
“Nobody knows which two teams will play in the finals and so I said to them, the team that ranks highest out of the two teams in the final should host the matches and forget about this home advantage nonsense, there is no home advantage,” the former West Indies fast bowler added.
Both semifinal matches will start at midday. The final is scheduled for Sunday in All Saints.

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