By Patrick Sawer of the Telegraph

It is a game in which fair play is still held in high regard and a certain type of behaviour is expected on and off the pitch.

So when Carew Cricket Club ensured they won their local county championship simply by denying the opposition the opportunity to accumulate extra points condemnation was swift and forthright.

In order to become champions of division one of the Pembroke County Cricket Club the team, based on the edge of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, forced the deciding game to an early close.

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By declaring an end to their innings after less than three overs, with a score of 18 runs for one wicket, Carew prevented their rivals Cresselly from scoring more than 40 runs or taking more than one wicket.

That meant that although Cresselly won easily by scoring 24 for one, there was no opportunity for them to accumulate the bonus points required to overtake Carew in the league.

While Carew's legal if rather underhand tactics may have won them the championship they earned the opprobrium of cricket lovers.

Steve James, who played for England and captained Glamorgan, said that the club's attitude was shocking.

"It's against the spirit of the game, Unfortunately it's within the rules of that game.

"I can't think that anyone in the Carew team would have wanted to win that way. If I had been in that team I wouldn't have been able to celebrate," he said.

Gareth Rees, another former Glamorgan cricketer, tweeted: "Just heard what happened in the Pembs league today. What an embarrassment from Carew Club shocking behavior."

A photograph of their victorious team posted on Twitter by Carew Cricket Club also drew a barrage of critical comments.

Cresselly made clear their disappointment with Carew's behaviour, saying in a statement that the club "felt hard done by at not being able to play a proper game" to decide the winner of the division.

Cresselly said that it had expected Carew to "want to beat us the right way and show everyone they are indeed the very best" and that the decision to lose on purpose "was at odds with their title of champions of the county".

The statement added: "We are disappointed for our supporters some who travelled quite a few hours to watch what should have been a top game and also people who took time off work to play and to watch."

Richard Merriman, vice-chairman of Pembroke County CC, said he could not comment on the matter until the general meeting of the club in February.

Carew were not available for comment.