IT’S the home stretch, as the final eight teams jostle for a semifinal berth in the inaugural Saint Lucia National Cricket Association ‘Sandals Cup’ sponsored by Sandals Saint Lucia.
The action shift into high gear today with the quarterfinals matches scheduled for four venues around the island. A number of Saint Lucia’s under -19 players including those who have represented the Windward Islands Under -15 and 19, West Indies Under -16 and 19 and those playing for their respective schools will be on show.
In game one, Gros Islet will be at home to Vieux Fort in what is expected to be a keenly contested matchup. The Kimani Melius led Gros Islet team will be coming all out to maintain their one hundred percent winning record in this year’s tournament.
The West Indies Under-19 player Kimani Melius will have with him left arm off orthodox spinner Simeon Gerson, UdelPreville, Rene Montoute, hard hitting opening batsman Dane Edward, Jard Goodman, Garvin Serieux, Lee Solomon, Dominic Auguste, Stavon Gabriel, Jaden Boodha, Tyrel Chicot and Kymani Sexius.
Vieux Fort will be going out to cause a major upset, as the experience Jermaine Harding batting at No 4 and opener Dyondre Taylor will lead from the front, with Ray Joseph, Nick Andrew, Tyran Theodore, CurtneyJhanny, Josh Alphonse, and Bradley Fannis giving good support.
The conditions at Grs Islet is expected to be dry, at its best, the outfield will be lightning quick thus the captain winning the toss will not hesitate to take first knock.
Game two will see Central Castries, which defeated South Castries last weekend, in Mon Repos for their encounter against the home team.
Players to watch for Mon Repos: Dichege Henry, MarklinEstaphane, Evan Alexander, Keon Gaston, and JeannickSerieux.
For Central Castries, Windward Islands Under-19 captain Johnnel Eugene is in superb form with the bat following scores of 61 in the Babonneau T20 League on Sunday 29 May and 76 in the Sandals Cup on Saturday 28 May. He is expected to lead from the front with support Keygan Arnold, Mateo Boulogne, Marlon Remy and Jayden Elibox.
Choiseul will come up against South Castries at the Mindoo Phillip Park in game three.
National player, Hanif Antoine will lead Choiseul’s charge with the bat, while K. Edward will be hoping for a repeat performance with the ball.
South Castries will want to wash away the memories of last weekend’s defeat at the hands of Central Castries and will depend heavily on AlvinusCallendar, Leary Auguste, Jelani Cupid, Marlon Paul and Emmerson Charles to carry them through.
Head coach, Brian Calixte will be hoping for much improved all round performances from his players going into this encounter.
In game four Soufriere will come up against Babonneau at the Soufriere Mini Stadium. Captain Qwaine Henry will lead the charge for Babonneau alongside Brendt Jean, Amari Venner, Akeem Auguste, Zidane Antoine and Craig Elisee.
Soufriere, will want nothing less than a win as Nick Jn Baptiste, Anil Faucher, Acquinas Sylvester, Xytus Emmanuel, Zack Anthony, KervellProspere, KervinClassie, Trevor Edward and Melody Jules will be going all out for a semifinal berth.
All matches are scheduled to bowl off from 9:30am.
Meanwhile, the last preliminary round match was played over the past weekend. At the Mindoo Phillip Park. Central Castries had a 73 run win over arch rival South Castries.
Batting first, Central Castries made 203 for the loss of three wickets with Windward Islands Under-19 captain Johnnel Eugene top scoring with 76, also contributing with the bat was Marlon Remy 38 and Mateo Boulogne 27.
Needing 204 for victory, South Castries folded for 130 with Noel Leo top scoring with 30, while LerryAuguste and Jelani Cupid chipped in with 21 and 17 respectively.
Bowling for Central Castries, Jerry John picked up 3 for 23.