By Neto Baptiste
Cricket Operations Manager for the Leeward Islands Cricket Board (LICB), Vernon Springer, has confirmed that the St. Maarten cricket association, on Tuesday night, pulled out of the LICB 50 Overs Tournament slated to bowl off here on Friday.
St Maarten was listed amongst six teams that will compete in this year’s tournament to be played across three venues here from October 18th to October 26th.
“The reasons behind it is that their board was trying to raise some funds because of the financial situation in St Maarten they were not able to raise the necessary funds but the corrected fixture is on the website [LICB]. All that would actually happen is when they are not actually playing, the team will just rest,” he said.
According to reports, however, St Maarten’s departure has left its players in a quandary, as their non-participation would rule them out for selection to the Leeward Islands Hurricanes. Several of the St Maarten players are currently said to be desperately trying to get into other teams playing in the tournament.
Springer also sought to address reports that umpires outside of Antigua are being asked to pay their own way if they desire to officiate in the tournament. According to the official, LICB has had dialogue with the body responsible for umpires at the Leeward Islands’ level regarding the inability of the LICB to fund the trips for umpires during the sub-regional tournaments.
“The Leeward Islands Cricket Board wrote to the Leeward Islands Cricket Umpires Association and we have told the body for the last couple of years that we are not in a position to be able to fly umpires to the tournament, so what we said to the Leeward Islands Cricket Umpires Association is that if your body can organise for the umpires to come to the respective tournaments, the Leeward Islands Cricket Board will pay them match fees,” he said.
“We are not in a position to say we could fly in six umpires because, financially, we are having a struggle in terms of what’s happening,” Springer added. The tournament bowls off on Friday when St Kitts play Montserrat in All Saints and hosts Antigua and Barbuda face Anguilla in Bethesda.