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It just does not add up


The more things change, the more they remain the same. The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association (SVGNA) and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association (SVGCA) can surely attest to this fact in relation to their efforts to up the ante in respect of their national competitions.{{more}}

Bombarded with a myriad of issues, both have tried to streamline their national events. But the two have been bogged down by a myriad of woes.

The SVGNA’s pronouncements that the 2009 National Club Tournament would have been one reflective of strong club structures has turned out to be a grand charge, as the Association has barked but not bitten.

Their effort prior to the start of the Tournament to get teams into clubs was a welcomed initiative, as they sought to iron out the seemingly permanent creases. The SVGNA has tried, but the efforts have netted sameness.

Understandably, the process is ongoing, and one should not have expected instant changes, but at least one should have seen greater improvements overall.

As it is, not much has changed. It has been the template of previous years at work. Matches are still being defaulted by units which are supposedly “clubs”, coupled with the tag line of a sponsor’s name and logo.

Some “clubs” are still fielding insufficient or the bare minimum players at matches.

At some matches, some teams turn up without anyone visibly in charge, i.e. a coach or manager.

Matches still commence late, sometimes no fault of the officials. It is ludicrous to hear some of the excuses forwarded by some teams/clubs, for example, the non-availability of transport for matches on weekends, especially Sunday.

There are still persons who are intimately involved with “clubs” and who are required to be umpires in matches. The problems inherent in allegations of favouritism by match officials will, therefore, continue to harm the sport.

At the end of the Division One championship decider between Western Union Mitres TRAC and Vita Malt Maple, players were loudly claiming that they were undone by the umpires. Whilst there will always be defence mechanisms and finger pointing, some ground of impartiality must be found.

Maybe the use of foreign officials should be considered. Similarly, reciprocity with neighbouring islands, as they, too, will face the same predicament.

Yes, I am aware that the Executive of the SVGNA has gone to lengths to bring some uniformity to the way the sport is conducted and administrated at the team/club level. But the resource base of Netball, like other sporting disciplines, is not limitless, so one has to work with what one has.

Therefore, it cannot be business usual, and the administrators of Netball will have to cut their cloth to suit their size and take the bull by the horns.

Again, it is pointless to start a tournament with 30 odd teams/clubs, then in mid stream, it becomes watered down, as interest is lost and the pressures of a protracted season get to the players and officials who have to juggle their personal lives with their jobs and sporting activities.

Quantity is no substitute for Quality.

The SVGCA is in a similar position, as it, too, must go back to the drawing board and inject some life-giving substance to their veins. Very few pay attention to the national Cricket Competitions. And, except for the faithful, a sprinkling of spectators and well wishers turn up to the matches on the weekend.

Interest is absent all round, as, again, especially in the Bottlers First Division, the default route is now the order of the day once more. It is disheartening to hear week after week that teams are not turning up for their fixtures.

The time is rife for the SVGCA to sift the teams like wheat and put on show only those who are really serious. At the RBTT Premier Division level, the situation is slightly more favourable, but not acceptable.

The passion has been lost, as eight players are turning up for their teams’ fixtures, close to almost defaulting. Then the selectors for national representative teams have to select the best of the little talent that comes to the fore. Certainly, hard core action must be taken to redress the situation which is careening out of control.

Bold steps must also be taken by relevant authorities to rid the Sion Hill Playing Field of that “Mound”.

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