AFTER 15 months in the doldrums, due to the pandemic, Under-19 cricketers can now smile with today’s commencement of the 3rd edition of the Sandals Cup.
The tournament which is organised by the Saint Lucia National Cricket Association (SLNCA) will see defending champion Gros Islet start their title defense against South Castries at the Gros Islet playing field from 10.00 a.m.
According to SLNCA 1st Vice President, Shaun Alcindor, “This year the tournament is played in two tiers. Eight teams will compete for the Cup Division, while five teams will do battle in the Plate Division.”
“The reason for this format is to allow the weaker teams to compete among themselves and develop and don’t get humiliated or out-played by the stronger teams, because at the end of the day it demoralizes the younger players facing defeat after defeat,” Alcindor said.
In terms of Protocols, he said, “All Covid -19 protocols will be in place to include the wearing of masks and social distancing at the various venues.”
Teams in the Cup Division, Group A, include – Gros Islet, South Castries, Choiseul and Mon Repos. Group B – Babonneau, Central Castries, Mabouya Valley, and newcomers, the Saint Lucia Sports Academy (SLSA).
The five teams in the Plate Division include – Vieux Fort North, Dennery, Gros Islet ll, and newcomers Micoud and Laborie.
The defending champion will be without the services of eight key players who won back-to-back championships. These players have now moved on to the senior level. Kimani Melius, Lee Solomon, Dominic Auguste, Rene Montoute, Jard Goodman, Simeon Gerson, Tyrel Chicot and Garvin Serieux Jr.
Gros Islet will still be a force to be reckoned with as it includes the likes of Zidane Arthur (captain), Udel Preville, Ryan Goodman and Bolton Sayers all of whom played in 2019. The remainder of the squad reads – Khan Elcock, Jehan Boodha, Jeandell Cyril, Denzel Albert (wicketkeeper), Lee John, Shahid Roberts, Kethan Charlemagne, Prosperity Francois and Zakari Christophe.
Coach for the Gros Islet team Alton Crafton said, “We will enjoy the game, work hard and the results will see after itself.”
The South Castries team has five returning players – Aaron Joseph (captain), Marville Cyril, Eddy Sydney, Elroy Griffith, Marshal Lammy Jr. The reminder of the squad reads – Mackline Jules, Hannick Hippolyte, Shornus Alfred, Devonte Joseph, Jaylan Chandler, Ignatius Alexander, Thomas Fields, Devonte Alfred and Jowelle Calixte. Coach: Malcolm Monrose and Manager: Eldridge Charles.
President of the South Castries Cricket Association (SCCA), Brian Calixte said, “We have not beaten Gros Islet, but we got to the semifinals in 2019. We have a pretty young team to be led by Aaron Joseph who has been part of SC Lions T10 Team.”
“If their enthusiasm and commitment at training is anything to go by, they will cause some upsets,” he added.
In other matches schedule for the day, Choiseul plays Mon Repos at the Wenn playing field, Babonneau takes on Central Castries at Des Barras (Babonneau), Mabouya Valley will be up against Saint Lucia Sports Academy at the La Ressource playing field (Dennery).
Also today in the Plate Division, Dennery versus Laborie at Piaye and Gros Islet ll plays Vieux Fort North at Balata.
On Sunday 30th, in the Cup Division, Gros Islet plays Choiseul at Piaye, South Castries will be up against Mon Repos at the Wenn playing field, Central Castries takes on Saint Lucia Sports Academy and Mabouya Valley will be at home to Babonneau at the La Ressource playing field (Dennery).
In the Plate Division, Laborie versus Micoud at the Phillip Marcellin Grounds and Gros Islet ll plays Vieux Fort North at Balata.
Some of the players that will be in action include, Ackeem Auguste and Mc Kenny Clarke (Central Castries), Tyran Theodore (Vieux Fort North) and Udel Preville (Gros Islet). The quartet will be leaving the Saint Lucia in mid July to join a Cricket West Indies (CWI) High Performance Camp in Antigua as the West Indies commence preparation for the 2022 ICC World Under -19 tournament schedule for the Caribbean.
Other players to look out for throughout the tournament: Sky Lafeuille, Stephan Theophane (Choiseul), Keygan Arnold, Jayden Elibox ( Central Castries), Celeb Thomas, Stephan Abraham, Amari Venner (Babonneau), Cuthbert Hippolyte, Daren Sammy Jr, Bernard Calix ( Micoud), Nean Deterville, Ceyanus S. Jules, Jelani Joseph ( Mabouya Valley), Isaiah Jones, Taric Courier, Bjorn Fanis (Gros Islet B), Noel Leo, Royce Paul, Tarrique Edward, Niesh Cherry ( Saint Lucia Sports Academy), Chrislon Fannis, David Naitram (Vieux Fort North).
All matches bowl off from 10.00 a.m.