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Opponents cry foul after declaration decides Pembrokeshire league title

A general view of a village cricket match Getty Images

A Pembrokeshire team have been accused of a breach of the spirit of cricket after a controversial declaration in their final league match of the season denied their opponents the chance to claim a bonus-point victory that would have earned them the title.

After batting first, league leaders Carew Cricket Club declared their innings on 18 for 1 against second-placed Cresselly, who went on to complete a comfortable victory.

However, with a 21-point gap before the match, and only 20 points available for a win in those circumstances, Carew emerged as league champions by a single point.

In a statement, Cresselly said that they felt "hard done by", adding that the decision was "at odds with their title of champions". Carew are understood to be preparing an explanation of their decision.

The executive of the Pembroke County Cricket Club, who are responsible for the sport within Pembrokeshire, are due to meet on Wednesday. No regulations were broken in the declaration, but the match is expected to be discussed.

"We obviously feel hard done by at not being able to play a proper game to determine the winner of Division One," Cresselly said in their statement.

"Having beaten Carew in the league and village cup we felt confident we could do it.

"On the toss, our captain elected to field as we felt it was the best way of winning the game with such a tight margin.

"Thinking that Carew would want to beat us the right way and show everyone they are indeed the very best, their choice to declare and deliberately lose was at odds with their title of champions of the county.

"Some people have asked if we think 'deliberately losing' is match fixing and if we wanted to go down that road. We will leave that up to Pembroke County Cricket Club to decide.

"We are very disappointed but we want to move on."

The decision attracted an angry response on social media, with two former Glamorgan captains, Steve James and Mark Wallace, both having their say.

"This is a disgrace," wrote James on Twitter. "Just hope they realise what a mistake they have made. It's club cricket after all. It's supposed to be an afternoon of fun."