FOLLOWING on the heels of the Caribbean Premier League, where Trinbago Knight Riders emerged as champions last weekend, the focus has now shifted to our very own party in the stands and inaugural Saint Lucia Premier League (SLPL) T20 Tournament.
The tournament bowls off tomorrow from 7:30 p.m. at the Soufriere Mini Stadium with SRDF Soufriere Pitons coming up against Choiseul Craft Masters.
Eight teams have been placed in two groups of four and will compete for SPL bragging rights and the EC $20,000 for the winners, the biggest payout ever in the history of cricket in Saint Lucia.
The losing finalist will collect EC$10,000, third place EC$6000 and fourth place EC$3000.
Speaking at a press conference last week at the Palm Haven Hotel, executive member for SPL, Hassan Euristee, said: “We have five of the teams linked to five local radio stations. We are also looking to stream the matches. Streaming is ideal for persons in the north or the south of the island who cannot come down to Soufriere to see the games. We are looking to fill an 8000- seating capacity.”
Euristee said people overseas who want to see the games, including owners from Saint Maarten and Dallas, Texas, have a huge Indian audience following cricket. With Daren Sammy’s involvement in the tournament, he said, people from Pakistan and India will want to tune in.
Group A comprises: Avatar City Blasters — Darren Sammy (captain), Gaspard Prospere (vice-captain); Gros Islet Knights Dalton Polius (captain), Alex Antoine (vice-captain); Mabouya Valley Renegades — Craig Emmanuel (captain), Murgaran Shoulette (vice-captain); and Shopbox Vieux Fort South Sunrisers — (Keddy Lesporis), Dornan Edward (vice-captain).
Group B: Choiseul Craft Masters — Audy Alexander (captain), Bronte Bess (vice-captain); Micoud Trailblazers — Garey Mathurin (captain), Shervin Charles (vice-captain); Nagico South Castries Lions — Johnson Charles (captain), Dwight Thomas (vice-captain); and SRDF Soufriere Pitons — Keither Prospere (captain).
The tournament is expected to be competitive, exciting and epic as a number of well-known players — both past and present — including a number of Under-19 players, will be on show.
SRDF Soufriere Pitons’ squad for tomorrow’s showdown, which has nine all-rounders on its roster, reads: Keither Prospere, Ashley Hippolyte, Bradley Tisson, Canis Richardson, Clem St. Rose, Dalius Monrose, Gregor Mitchel, Jard Goodman, Julian Sylvester, Nick Elibox, Quint Mesmin, Sanjay Pamphile, Shervin James, Shavone Gabriel, Tennesy Hippolyte and Wayne Prospere.
Choiseul Craft Masters, with 7 batsmen, 7 bowlers and two wicketkeepers, features Audy Alexander, Alvinus Simon, Brad Brouet, Bronte Bess, Chris Pamphile, Christian Charlery, Jamal Lesmond, Jason Simon, Junior Henry, Kurneil Lynch, Murlan Sammy, Shanii Mesmain, Sky Lafeuille, Travis Gifford, Valange St.Ange, and Vince Smith.
On Saturday, from 4:00 p.m., Avatar City Blaster with players such as Daren Sammy; Alleyn, Alvin, Gaspard and Loic Prospere; Johnnel Eugene, Dillon John and Tarryk Gabriel in the mix, will play Gros Islet Knights’ Dalton Polius, Alex Antoine, Kurt and Dane Edward, Lee Solomon, Simeon Gerson and Sheldon Arneau — certainly a rivalry you don’t want to miss.
At 8:00 p.m., Nagico South Castries Lions, with former West Indies ODI/T20 opening batsman Johnson Charles, with players such as Corlinus Calender, Kester Charlemagne, Millan David, Vernillius Gabriel, Xavier Gabriel, Sheldon Isidore, Tonius Simon and Dwight Thomas in its lineup will take on Micoud Trailblazers’ Garey Mathurin, Shervin and Cyrille Charles, Hayzel Charlery, Rohan Lesmond, Richard Peter, Garvin Serieux Jr, and Andious Hippolyte.
The action continues on Sunday with the four participating teams playing their second match of the tournament. SRDF Soufriere Pitons will meet Nagico South Castries Lions from 4:00 p.m. and Choiseul Craft Masters come up against Micoud Trailblazers at 8:00 p.m.