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June 27, 2008

Cricket President bowled over by Arnos Vale bottle throwing

“I must say I am embarrassed; it is not only an embarrassment for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but for Cricket on a whole”.

That was the feeling expressed by President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association, Julian Jack, after last Tuesday’s bottle throwing incident at the Arnos Vale Playing Field during the final stages of the first One Day International between the West Indies and Australia.{{more}}

But, despite his dejection, Jack thinks that the incident will not affect St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ chances of hosting matches in the near future.

“This is a one off situation and I don’t think it will affect us hosting future matches,” Jack said with distinct disappointment painted on his face, as he spoke to SEARCHLIGHT on Tuesday afternoon at the Arnos Vale venue, following the match.

At the heart of the discontentment among the spectators, especially those in the Double Decker stand, was the dismissal of West Indies all rounder Darren Sammy in the 40th over.

The crowd began hurling plastic bottles and other objects on to the field, after Sammy was given out, bowled by Nathan Bracken for 33.

Sammy had queried the decision of umpire Asad Rauf, which incensed the crowd, who did not have the benefit of television replay.

Rauf was vindicated as the replays showed the ball dislodging Sammy’s off bail.

“The law does not permit anyone to bring about justice by taking it into their own hands,” the local cricket boss said.

“Spectators must be reminded that the umpire’s decisions are final, even though we do not accept them,” Jack stated.

“They cannot change the decision, but gone are the days of hear say, and with so much technology around, umpires who continue to make mistakes can be removed from umpiring,” he advised.

He said that this country has a long tradition of hosting One Day Internationals, but believed the incident will simply jolt them into reviewing the security arrangements for matches of this nature.

“We will just have to sit down and review our security,” Jack added.

“I do hope that it will not happen again,” he projected.

Meanwhile, Head of Security for the match, Superintendent Ekron Lockhart, who also spoke to SEARCHLIGHT, stated that the incident was not as a result in any breakdown in the system on the day.

“Our security was at a maximum; we had no control of what came out of the stands,” Lockhart stated categorically.

He pointed out at the entry points, some glass bottles were taken away from patrons.

Referring to the speed of the security personnel in reacting to the incident, Lockhart said: “Security was on top of the situation within a flash”.

Jack also concurred with Lockhart about the response time of the security forces in quelling the incident.

The Australians were involved in a similar bottling throwing incident in Barbados in 1999, when hometown boy Sherwin Campbell was given Run Out. Campbell had a mid-pitch collision with Australian fast bowler, Brendon Julian. However, in Campbell’s case, he was recalled to the crease to resume his innings by then Australia Captain Steve Waugh.