The two teams at the centre of a controversy that made the national press at the end of last season, are set to meet in the Third Round
Carew created waves last summer with their declaration against Cresselly in a league title decider, now the two sides will meet again in this year’s National Village Cup.
Captaining a local club side has its pressures, but you do not expect to wake up the next morning and find that one of your decisions is making national headlines and trending on social media.
Carew captain Brian Hall probably regarded his call to declare on 18 for 1, in the Pembroke County Cricket Club Division One title decider, as one of those “good ideas at the time”. Cresselly overhauled the target easily to take 20 points (making 24 for 1), but were denied the chance to gain the minimum 22 they needed to pip Carew, or 21 to draw level.
And Hall’s decision (as captain he carries the can, even if it was influenced by team-mates or even from the boardroom) saw an ocean of opprobrium engulf him. Stephen Fry referred to the incident as “absolutely pathetic”, adding that “a supposed family-friendly club… has just taught all its young members that ‘win at any cost’ is OK.” Steve James branded it “a disgrace”, adding: “I just hope they realise what a mistake they have made.” The Daily Telegraph also ran a comment piece attacking the decision.
While Carew did not contravene league rules, what they did certainly was deemed – locally, nationally, even internationally! – to be against the spirit of the game. However the league were powerless to stop Carew receiving the league trophy.
A Cresselly club statement said: “We obviously feel hard done by at not being able to play a proper game to determine the winner of Division One. Having beaten Carew in the league and Village Cup we were feeling confident.”
The most famous instance of a team doing something like this was when Brian Rose declared at 1 for 0 against Worcestershire in the 1979 Benson and Hedges Cup. It ensured Somerset qualified for the next round ahead of Glamorgan and Worcestershire. Eight days later, however, the Test and County Cricket Board decided that Somerset should be ejected from the competition for “bringing the game into disrepute”.
Others likened Hall’s decision to Trevor Chappell’s infamous underarm delivery against New Zealand off the last ball of a one-day international at the MCG in 1981.
Carew were subsequently punished for their exploitation of the rules with the Pembrokeshire County Cricket Club League deciding at a hearing to keep Carew as nominal champions of Division One, but relegate them to Division Two. By declaring on a low score, to deny opponents and promotion rivals Cresselly from picking up bonus points, Carew were charged with bringing the league into disrepute.
Now the two teams are set to face off in this year’s National Village Cup. The draw was made at Lord’s on Friday February 16, and with only five teams in the Dyfed group (one of 32 regional groups) there was always a good chance the two would meet at some stage of the competition.
See the full National Village Cup draw HERE.
The final takes place at Lord’s on September 16.