Colin Thompson, Royal Gazette
Southampton Rangers vice-president Randy Raynor yesterday accused cricket umpire Anthony Fubler of 'provoking' two of his team's most senior players prior to the start of last month's heated Premier Division clash between Rangers and St. George's Cricket Club at Southampton Oval.
Raynor claimed that Fubler entered his team's dressing room on the morning of Sunday, June 17 and declared that he was going to bag 'a couple of wickets' — accusations the former pace bowler believes to have strongly influenced the reactions of Rangers skipper Kwame Tucker and player/coach Janeiro Tucker after both fell victim to debated lbw decisions.
Both players were reported by Fubler following the match for exhibiting unsportsmanlike conduct and are now scheduled to appear before Bermuda Cricket Board's (BCB) disciplinary committee tonight to face charges of bringing the game into disrepute, sources told The Royal Gazette.
Raynor, however, feels that his players' troubles could have been avoided had it not been for Fubler's alleged bizarre behaviour prior to the start of the match, and in protest has submitted written complaints on behalf of his club to both the Bermuda Cricket Umpires Association (BCUA) and the BCB.
'The umpire (Fubler) came into the dressing room and said to the players that he got six or so wickets the day before (Somerset versus St.David's at Somerset Cricket Club) and that he was going to get a couple more today,' Raynor claimed.
'Janeiro (Tucker) told him to go away and that he shouldn't be talking like that to players before a match. But Fubler told Janeiro that he wasn't afraid of any World Cup players and that he was going to get them. No umpire has the right to do that.
'He shouldn't be doing things like that … it was as though his actions were premeditated and to think he was the one who gave these two players out (lbw) really makes you wonder. And I think this is what led to the players' reactions. It was wrong and unjust to say that to my players.'
Rangers skipper Tucker has been brought up on charges for knocking over the stumps with his bat following his dismissal, while cousin Janeiro is set to face the music for allegedly exchanging heated words with umpire Fubler after he too was judged leg before during the controversial clash which saw visiting St. George's scramble to an inspiring 11-run win over the defending league champs in their own backyard.
'I don't condone the players' actions, but I think this all started when the umpire came into the dressing room before the match and said what he said,' Raynor maintained.
When contacted, BCUA president Wali Manders chose not to comment on the matter and instead grasped the moment to heap praise on his beleaguered member.
'I'm not going to complain about his man management skills, but over the last couple of years I think Fubler has improved exceptionally well and as a past cricketer his knowledge of the game is great,' Manders said.
'Fubler is very firm in his judgement and in my humble opinion one of the most improved umpires who has risen to the top in the last couple of years or so.'
Meanwhile, others scheduled to appear before the Board's disciplinary committee tonight are Devonshire Recreation Club seamer Lamont Brangman and Western Stars opening batsman Treadwell Gibbons jr — both on charges of bringing the game into disrepute.
Only last week the Board's disciplinary committee handed down a three-match suspension to Devonshire wicketkeeper/batsman Ricardo Brangman for his outburst during a Central Counties second round contest involving Devonshire and Police at Devonshire Rec on June 2.