Domestic trouble in Bermuda
After they won the Americas Championship recently, and success elsewhere internationally, only losing to Zimbabwe and in the Stanford 20/20, you'd be forgiven for thinking that all is well in Bermudian cricket.
But the truth is far from what it looks on the surface.
The national newspaper, The Royal Gazette, recently described Bermuda's cricketing prosperity as "a shiny new Porsche with the engine of a Morris Minor lurking beneath the hood". It is an apt metaphor, as whilst the international side is enjoying what is quite possibly the best period in it's history, the domestic game is suffering.
Since the conclusion of the biggest game on the island, the Cup Match, several matches have been cancelled, there is a shortage of umpires, teams have been unable to raise eleven players, and in a worrying incident an umpire was verbally and physically assaulted. Club facilities are also in dire need of renovation in most cases.
It may be quite puzzling that a cricket board that recently received a cash injection of $11 million from their government should be struggling in this way. But the reality of the situation is that little of that money is filtering down to grass-roots level. Costs of World Cup preparations, player salaries, scholarships and stints in overseas academies are eating into the Bermuda Cricket Board's budget.
The Bermuda Cricket Board may not be the ones to blame though. The board made it clear that all clubs were able to apply for funding to improve their facilities. But in two months they only received three applications. One application came from St John's Field in Pembroke, home of the Western Stars team. They got a few thousand dollars in order to install two Astroturf nets on the ground. But within only three months, those nets have been smothered by weeds and are totally unplayable.
The government need to step in and ensure that such laziness becomes a thing of the past. Perhaps the Bermuda Cricket Board also need to start dishing out punishments for clubs that fail to keep their facilities up to scratch. A reform of the domestic system may be in order.
Whatever happens, it has to happen soon, or we could see a promising period in the history of Bermudian cricket come to an abrupt end.