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Carew could count cost of hollow victory

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CAREW CRICKET CLUB has come under intense criticism for the act of gamesmanship which ensured they finished the season ahead of Cresselly and has made national and international news.

The decision by Carew to declare their innings closed at 18-1, denying their title rivals Cresselly the chance to close the gap on them – depending on your point of view – was either the cynical and calculating act of a club that places more importance on holding a tin cup for 12 months than the interests of the game, or a masterstroke in which the strict letter of the rules was exploited in a wholly blameless way by a club whose win at all costs attitude is a shining example of how to win.

That there is no middle ground is demonstrated by the reactions – mostly condemnatory – on social media and by cricket journalists.

The mathematics of the final game gave Cresselly the chance of overhauling Carew if – and only if – they won by a large enough margin to overhaul Carew’s 21 point lead going into the last round of fixtures.

With the maximum number of points available for a win 30 points and the possibility of Carew batting out for a draw to stymie any Cresselly victory attempt, Cresselly would have had to limit Carew to eight bonus points. In practical terms, that would have meant bowling Carew out for either 120 or 150 and passing that total without losing more than six wickets.

The decision to declare on 18-1 meant that Creselly could – at most – gain a bare 20 points for the win, leaving them one point shy of closing the gap and doomed to finish in second place.

And so, Carew are ‘champions’.

The club’s boosters on social media point out that Carew had won more games than any other side and had lost bonus points due to bowling out opposition cheaply, leaving them unable to reap a full thirty points. In addition, the same supporters point out that Cresselly won the toss and elected to field, thereby making Carew’s decision possible. However, by far the most common attitude expressed – particularly by current Carew players on social media – is the old Millwall line ‘nobody loves us, and we don’t care’.

Arrogant and petulant, the words of some Carew players suggest that they blame everyone else for their tarnished success. And they have been quick to fling around personal attacks towards those who have dared criticised their club.

‘It’s not our fault, it’s the rules’; ‘it’s not our fault, it’s Cresselly’s’; ‘it’s not our fault, we are the champions’.

But, in the case of the last of those, the question is open as to how long they will be able to retain their crown.

And while Carew’s players and supporters have been very forthcoming, the Club is saying nothing.

A Carew statement read: “In consequence of the coverage of this matter in some sections of the media, we, as a club, have decided not to comment further. We stand together.”

There is precedent against Carew here from first class cricket. In 1979, Brian Rose, then the Somerset skipper, worked out that his side would qualify for the knockout stages of a cup competition if they declared their innings closed early. He did so and Somerset qualified for the next round of the competition.

The TCCB – as it then was – met and expelled Somerset from the competition by seventeen votes to one, with even Somerset voting with the motion.

Somerset’s actions were within the rules but outside their spirit and the spirit of the game.

So it is that the focus now turns to what – of anything – the usually spineless County Club will do about the situation.

Past experience is not promising, the league having historically failed to act over shamateurism and being particularly reluctant to do anything to offend larger clubs.

Last year, both Haverfordwest and Llechryd played an unregistered player in competition. Haverfordwest were excused, whereas Llechryd were penalised. It was a decision that allowed the strong inference to be drawn that it was one rule for some sides and one rule for others. There was a protest at the Harrison Allen final, reached by Haverfordwest, which some media reported was ill-judged, implying that the ‘we’re all old pals’ act still holds sway in some parts of the game.

The signs are not promising that the County Club will do anything.

The County Club’s chair, Paul Webb, has declined to comment. Perhaps understandably so, as he now plays for Cresselly.

The County Club’s secretary, Steve Blowes, has told BBC Wales he is ‘personally disappointed’ by Carew’s actions, even though they have not ‘technically broken any rules’.

However, the County Club is bound by its own rules to promote the interests of the game and, in addition, has sweeping powers conferred upon it by its Code of Conduct, which incorporates the MCC’s ‘Spirit of Cricket’.

The ‘Spirit of Cricket’ is a preamble to the Laws of the game. It provides that cricket ‘should be played not only within its Laws but also within the Spirit of the Game’. It continues to say: ‘Any action which is seen to abuse this spirit causes injury to the game itself’.

And the County Club’s Code of Conduct supports that position. It claims that the County Club ‘is committed to maintaining the highest standards of behaviour and conduct at cricket matches both on and off the field. All clubs and players … explicitly agree to abide by this Code of Conduct, which incorporates the Spirit of Cricket, and are bound by the provisions in these Regulations.

‘The captains are responsible at all times for ensuring that play is conducted within the Spirit and Laws of Cricket’.

The implication of that could not be clearer. The ‘Laws’ and the ‘Spirit’ go together and are not divisible. That means that playing within the rules of play is not enough; games must be conducted within the rules of play AND within the ‘Spirit of the Game’. The inclusion is not conditional, but explicit. Gaming the system is plainly outside the Spirit and therefore outside the rules.

It appears, therefore, that not only does the County Club have the power to act, but that it is bound to by its own rules and the Laws of the game it is supposed to promote.

Bearing in mind the Code of Conduct’s scope, however, it appears that it is Carew skipper Brian Hall who is potentially in the cart for any breach of the Code of Conduct. That is harsh, as it is clear that the scheme was hatched not spontaneously by Brian Hall on August 26, but was the result of consideration by others within Carew Cricket Club.

Perhaps as they all ‘stand together’, the County Club might consider whether it ought to take Carew at their word.

If the Spirit of Cricket’s interpolation in the County Club’s own rules has any force and is not just lip service paid to a concept, then it is for the County Club to decide that playing (just) within the rules is more important than protecting the game.

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Simon Hart MP says that First Minister is ‘reckless’ to say that the UK is ‘as it is, over’

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THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WALES, Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire MP Simon Hart, said that the First Minister for Wales, Mark Drakeford is wrong to suggest that the United Kingdom has had its day in its current form.

The First Minister’s exact words were “the UK as it is; is over”.

Mr Drakeford’s has said a new union should be created to reflect a “voluntary association of four nations”.

In his conference speech, the Welsh Labour leader called for “home rule for Wales in a successful United Kingdom”.

In a strong rebuke of Mark Drakeford’s comments Simon Hart MP said on the BBC’s politics Wales programme on Sunday (Mar 7) that his suggestion was “reckless” and “an overt act of flirtation with Plaid Cymru.”

Mr Hart added: “I think he realises if he wants to remain first minister he has to do a deal with Plaid, it’s the only option on the table. He hasn’t denied that, I’ve heard.

“In order to do that he has to start making noises about the union that has to appeal to his Plaid Cymru colleagues. I think it’s quite a reckless thing.”

Mr Hart explained that the UK “benefits” Wales and that the UK-wide procurement of Covid-19 vaccines proves this. He added: “It demonstrates just one example that the UK is a positive influence but it doesn’t mean that some of the other arguments are not valid”.

Plaid Cymru wants to hold a referendum on Welsh independence if it wins May’s Senedd election, but the power to do so lies at Westminster.

There has been a growing interest in more independence for Wales in the last few years, with a huge surge in membership of the non-political Yes Cymru group since the start of the pandemic.

Plaid leader Adam Price, speaking on the same programme, said: “We sincerely believe that independence is ultimately the only sustainable way whereby Wales can achieve its incredible potential as a nation that isn’t being delivered at the moment and whereby we can achieve social and economic justice for everyone that lives in Wales.”

Giving evidence to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee on Thursday, which The Herald was invited attended via a Zoom, Mr Drakeford explained said his idea of home-rule meant “the powers we have, and the devolution settlement we develop, would be guaranteed and would not be interfered with in the way we have seen so vividly in recent months”.

Mr Drakeford said: “I do think the effect of the pandemic and last 12 months has been to polarise opinion in Wales about how Wales should be governed.

“There are some people who take a lesson that we would be better off handing Wales back to Whitehall, there are some Conservative candidates standing in the Senedd elections who apparently take that view.

“It has undoubtedly strengthened interest in those people who believe Wales should be taken out of the United Kingdom altogether.”

The company which runs The Pembrokeshire Herald, Herald News UK, has recently launched a national news website for Wales which is sympathetic to Welsh independence.

This is something which could not have happened without a shift in feeling by many in Wales that as a nation it should have more autonomy.

Speaking on ITN’s News at Ten on Thursday (Mar 4), Herald.Wales South and West Wales Editor, Tom Sinclair said: “From our test marketing we can see that there certainly is a huge appetite for news that is about Wales, made in Wales, and owned by a company which is actually Welsh.”

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Education

Delight as foundation phase learners return to class

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PEMBROKESHIRE Headteachers have reported very positive returns to school for Foundation Phase Learners.

All Foundation Phase Learners returned to schools on Monday, March 1st and attendance has been reported at almost 90% since.

The Council’s Director for Education, Steven Richards-Downes, said: “A wide range of council services have worked together to ensure that Foundation Phase pupils have been able to return
safely to school.

“I am particularly grateful to all school staff and families for ensure that learning is now available for our youngest learners face to face.”

Headteachers remarked how schools have filled with smiles and laughter following the safe and phased return of Foundation Phase learners.

Cora O’Brien, Headteacher at Waldo Williams School in Haverfordwest emphasised how quickly learners have settled back in to a routine.

“It has been an absolute joy to hear their laughter in the playground and to observe their love of learning face to face once again. I thank everybody in the Waldo Williams School
community for working so hard to ensure that the transition went smoothly.”

Vicky Hart-Griffiths, Headteacher of Ysgol Hafan y Mor in Tenby, said: “It has been wonderful to welcome all our Foundation Phase learners back to school. They are thriving, being amongst
friends and back to a school routine.  

“All the pupils have spoken about how happy they are to have returned and it’s an absolute pleasure to welcome them back and we can’t wait until we have all our pupils back in school.

“The school feels alive again and there’s a positive buzz and laughter once again echoing throughout the school.”

Gareth Lewis, Headteacher at Broad Haven CP School said children had returned “with real enthusiasm, and have been very keen to meet up with their friends.”

Mr Lewis added: “Our parents have been very supportive and positive about the return, and those with older children are very much looking forward to a wider return to schooling.”

Mr Richards-Downes said plans were now turning to more learners returning to schools in the near future.

“We are looking to the next phases of the re-opening of schools on the 15th of March as long as the government guidelines allow.”

Further details will be released in due course.

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Pembrokeshire County Council: This week’s Leader’s coronavirus update

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL Leader, Councillor David Simpson, has provided a further coronavirus update for Friday, 5th March as follows:

‘Welcome everyone to my weekly update.

“It is with rather a heavy heart that I tell you that it’s almost 12 months since my first statement on the coronavirus pandemic.

“On 9th March 2020, I addressed our Cabinet meeting with the following words:

“Further to the news yesterday that two people in Pembrokeshire had tested as positive for the Covid 19 virus, I am sure you will join me in wishing them both a speedy and full recovery.

“I can reassure you that our services will continue as usual, and all our employees can continue to attend to their work, appointments, schools and services as they normally would.

“We should all help protect ourselves and our communities by following Public Health Wales advice, particularly around washing hands and using a tissue for symptoms associated with cold and flu and then safely disposing of it.

“I am grateful to the co-operation and hard work of all of our staff and we will provide further updates and information when we have them.

“In the meantime I can confirm that detailed planning arrangements, both internally, with partner agencies and through the Dyfed Powys Local Resilience Forum, are well underway to ensure that the Council and Pembrokeshire are as well placed as possible for whatever challenges we may face. Thank you.”

“I am sure you will join me while I take a moment now to remember all those people in Pembrokeshire and further afield, who, very sadly, passed away since I made that announcement.

“I continue to be incredibly grateful, as I’m sure you are, to everyone who is helping to beat this pandemic, working so very hard now for over a year.

“We are fortunate now to be in a position where the vaccine programme is protecting older members of our community and starting to roll out among one of the biggest groups – the over 65s and those with underlying health conditions.

“This time next week (12th March) the Welsh Government will have notified us of their plans for the next three weeks.

“In the meantime, we remain in Alert Level 4 and the stay at home message continues to be more important than ever as we reach the threshold of better times.

“I wish you all a good weekend and thank you once again to the vast majority of wonderful Pembrokeshire residents who are doing the right thing and waiting patiently at home for restrictions to lift.

“We do really appreciate your efforts and determination to help bring this pandemic to an end.”

 

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