Super 40 Semis Decided After Match Reports Clear Way For Blackhawks And Empire

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA), Leon Rodney (File photo)
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By Neto Baptiste

Separate reports from match referees have cleared the way for both PIC Liberta Blackhawks and Empire National to advance to the semifinal round of the Antigua and Barbuda Super 40 competition this weekend following controversial end to their final preliminary round matches last weekend.

At Liberta on Sunday, visiting team Rising Sun Spartans refused to take the field following a short delay due to rain, citing uneasiness amongst the players after an altercation between coach of the Blackhawks team Kenneth Benjamin and player/coach of the Rising Sun squad, Rayn John.

ABCA president, Leon Rodney, condemned the issue but said match officials did not apply any sanctions to the individuals involved, while it was clear that one team abandoned the match.

“I think that {in] a letter that was written to the ABCA by Rising Sun [they] admitted that they had [told] the umpire that they were not going to continue playing the match. So, basically, we had to say the Rising Sun forfeited the match by their own admission, and the supporting documents from the match referee and the umpires would have said what happened. At the end of the day that’s what it is,” he said.

“Apart from the fighting issue, I think it’s a whole different story to the forfeiture of the game and obviously we don’t want to encourage that sort of stuff, but … the match referee did not reprimand anyone of them,” he added.

Rodney also explained that although the incident involving Empire not pulling the covers during a downpour was unsportsmanlike, there are no rules that allow the association to penalise a team for not securing the pitch during rain.

“Once there are covers then we expect that teams will be responsible enough to pull on the covers. However, there are no rules stating specifically that the teams should cover the pitch notwithstanding that it has been happening all the time, and it’s the expectation. The reality is … if the rule has to be amended, which will be amended, the language will have to be more direct,” he said.

Reports are that Empire failed to put on their covers at King George during a downpour on Sunday which resulted in the match being abandoned. This meant that the home team would share points with their visitors New Winthorpes which, in turn, put Empire into the semis by just two points. Had New Winthorpes won the contest, they would have advanced ahead of Empire.

Empire and Blackhawks, both with 24 points, are second and third respectively, and join table toppers All Saints Pythons (30 points) and Pigotts Crushers (22 points) as the four teams in the semifinals

On Saturday, Pythons host Crushers while, on Sunday, Empire will host Blackhawks.

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