Bizarre declaration attempt backfires

A second strange declaration in the space of a week has backfired in the West Indies' four-day tournament

Cricket Network

17 March 2019, 06:42 PM AEST

A bizarre attempt to deliberately lose by declaration has backfired in the West Indies’ Regional Four-Day Tournament.

The Leeward Islands had declared in an apparent attempt to deny their opponents Barbados a chance to gain enough bonus points to overtake them on the tournament table – but their calculations proved incorrect.

The match, played at Antigua's Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, was a battle to finish in second place on the competition ladder – with Guyana already cementing their place as champions the previous day – and Barbados were seeking gain enough points to leapfrog Leeward Islands into second spot.

They held a first-innings lead of 101 when they declared early on day two at 8-191, and Leeward Islands had moved to 2-83 when they declared – still trailing by 18 runs.

Their declaration handed Barbados an innings victory, but Leeward Islands mistakenly believed they wouldn’t have secured enough bonus points to overtake them.

But their calculations were incorrect, as Barbados took home 17.4 points, taking their season tally to 134.2 – leaving them 0.2 points ahead of Leeward Islands.

It was the second bizarre declaration in a week, after a Brisbane Premier club was accused of acting against the spirit of cricket after using a competition loophole to their advantage.

But unlike the Queensland case, Cricket West Indies have taken no action against Leeward Islands.

Northern Suburbs were penalised for what Queensland Cricket's Premier Cricket Committee (PCC) labelled an act "detrimental" to the spirit of the game, after intentionally conceding a first-innings defeat in a bid to manipulate the team they would play in this weekend's semi-finals.

The PCC not only voided the result of last weekend’s match against the University of Queensland, they also banned Norths captain James McPherson for the duration of the upcoming finals series, docked the club 12 points for next season's two-day competition and withdrew their right to host a semi-final or a final next summer.

Northern Suburbs conceived their controversial ploy last Saturday after UQ, who only needed a draw to guarantee a top-two spot and a home final, batted for a mammoth 173 overs on their home ground WEP Harris Oval and only declared in the final session of the game on 9-675.

The two-day match was certain to end in a draw, a result that would have seen both teams awarded five points to set up a re-match at the same venue in a 2nd v 3rd semi-final.

Rather than letting the match peter out to a stalemate and facing UQ again the following week, Norths declared after just four overs on 1-14 to hand UQ a first-innings victory, worth 12 points. Following on, Norths were 1-36 in their second innings when the match ended.