Inside the Elite Division
with Keith Holder
Date Published: 2012-04-28
Now Elite replaces long-standing First division as major BCA three-day league championship
Bridgetown, Barbados, April 28 – (www.bcacricket.org) – After three intriguing years of promotion and relegation during which three teams were demoted annually from the long-standing First division championship and one side promoted from the Upper Intermediate, the Barbados Cricket Association has re-branded its two major three-day league competitions.
The more than century-old First division will now be called the Elite division and the Upper Intermediate which has gone through a few name changes will be known as the First division from the 2012 season, which starts next Saturday, May 5.
“We have had a bit of housekeeping changes. We have renamed our two top divisions. What was our First division is now the Elite division and what was the Upper Intermediate is now called the First division,” BCA Cricket Operations Manager Rollins Howard said during a Press conference in the Hall & Griffith stand at Kensington Oval this week.
“That (Upper Intermediate division) has gone through a couple of name changes over the years. It was at one time the Reserve, then the Premier and Upper Intermediate. Not it’s the First. That change is more of a cosmetic change rather than a functional change,” Howard said.
With two teams - TeleBarbados Carlton and Guardian General Barbados Youth – the latter being exempted from demotion, fielding teams in both the Elite and First, Howard pointed out that such an anomaly would be rectified next season.
“So although Carlton is competing in both (divisions) this year, at the end of the season there will be an adjustment made so that the winner of the First automatically goes up into the Elite division,” he said.
The result of promotion-demotion from the then Division 1, led to a reduction of teams from a whopping 16 in 2009 to ten entering the 2012 season.
“The Elite (division) should be the cream of the crop. It is hoped that with fewer places in that division, the level of competition will rise,” Howard stressed in reaction to probing questions from a couple members of the Press as to what was so special about the name changes.
“The promotion and relegation has also put six teams in the new Division 1. The competition in that division should be a lot keener than what he had before. Teams are now struggling to get back into the top flight,” Howard asserted.
“Although teams have been relegated, there is a desire to get back up. Teams have retained the majority of the players and are doing their best to get their clubs back up to the top division. We want to see it become a real Elite division.”
Another of the significant changes for the new season will now see the teams in the First division joining those in the Elite to vie for the Sagicor General Super Cup (50-over) and Twenty20 championships as well, thus lifting the number to a record 18.
Previously, the Super Cup, which was rebranded in 2004 after being called the Sagicor Cup (previously Barbados Fire Cup) and the T20, now in its fifth year, were limited to the top league (First division) teams only.
It now means that the Elite division teams – Sagicor Life UWI, CGI/Sandy Crest Maple, ICBL Empire, Super Centre Spartan, BNB St. Catherine, TeleBarbados Carlton, BDFSP, ESA Field Pickwick, Guardian General Barbados Youth and Seven Seas Police, who have returned to the top flight after being demoted the previous season, will be joined by eight teams from the First division – three of which were relegated last season – Banks, LIME and YMPC - along with the promoted Nature Valley Lodge School, BRC BCL, Counterpoint Wanderers, Ince Transport MTW and Yorkshire in the Super Cup and T20 tournaments.
The Super Cup begins May 20, while no dates have been officially released for the start of the T20 and Sagicor General Shield (40-over-a-side) competitions.
The other clubs and schools in the lower divisions – minus those with teams in the Elite and First – will contest the Shield.