Dyke defends delay
Alistair Bushe (News Letter)
The tournament director of cricket's Irish Cup has defended the scheduling of the quarter-final draw almost two-and-a-half weeks after Sunday's second round ties were completed.
The draw will take place prior to Ireland's two-match ODI series with Sri Lanka in mid-June, a move which attracted criticism on social media earlier this week.
However, tournament director Simon Dyke said carrying out the draw before the Sir Lanka game would increase the profile of the competition and enable Ireland players to be involved in the draw itself.
He also insisted there is adequate time between the draw taking place and the quarter-finals themselves, allowing host clubs time to prepare pitches and away team to make travelling arrangements.
In a statement to the News Letter he said: “From my own perspective as tournament director, I would make the following observations: Conducting the QF draw prior to the Sri Lanka series would help raise the profile of the competitions, both with an increased general interest in cricket at that time, and potentially more media in attendance,
“I gather some of the Ireland players, on the back of the live streaming of the previous round, have indicated interest in being involved in the draw (which thus lends itself to mid-June too),
“With the next round scheduled for 10th July, a draw in mid-June offers clubs three and a half weeks to make plans. Groundsmen previously told us they needed 12-14 days to prepare a suitable pitch, so the timelines work from that angle,”
Cricket Ireland had already been criticised over the delay in holding the second round draw less than a week before the ties took place.
But calls on Twitter for the quarter-final draw to be brought forward have fallen on deaf ears.
Mr Dyke insisted criticism had not been widespread, pointing out that no club has officially complained and claiming “most of the criticism” has come from “six people”.
“I'm not aware that any club has made non-twitter contact with myself or Cricket Ireland about the timelines for conducting the quarter-final draw – instead all we have seen is remarks on twitter – and even then, I gather the extent of the criticism has been from half a dozen people. We are always contactable at Cricket Ireland if there are any queries such as this.”
Mr Dyke also explained the delay in holding the second round draw and pointed out the large number of online views of the draw taking place.
He added: “The rationale behind delaying the second round draw was to uphold the integrity of the competition – and avoid a situation where a club withdraws because it has an unfavourable opponent in the following round. Despite that, the live-streaming of the second round draw drew over 6,000 online views,