SLNCA Sandals Cricket Under-19 Tournament Kicks Off February 11

Management and organizers of the Saint Lucia National Cricket Association [SLNCA] Sandals Under-19 Cricket Tournament are excited to put on the upcoming event, due to commence on February, 11.

Sandals Resorts managing Director Winston Anderson (center) and other representatives and young players at the Sandals U-19 Cricket media launch.
Sandals Resorts managing Director Winston Anderson (center) and other representatives and young players at the Sandals U-19 Cricket media launch.

A total of 16 teams, fitted into two tiers (1st and 2nd Division) will compete at venues across the island in the 5TH year edition of the tournament.

Over the years the Sandals chain of hotels on island had established good relations with the SLNCA, and according to a spokesperson, the initiative is geared to strengthen the relationship with not only the team unit, but to help with the overall development of sports on the island “for our youth to excel”.

Managing Director at Sandals Resorts in Saint Lucia, Winston Anderson acknowledged the support from the local cricket fraternity in making the tournament successful. He called for more support from family and friends of the players as they utilize the platform set to aspire to higher levels.

“Sandals Resort along with the Sandals Foundation are committed to creating opportunities for our young people,” said Anderson.

“And one of the key ways is the development of sporting initiatives and cricket along with so many (other sports) being one of them,” he added.

He said a key part of this development, “is to lay the foundation in our youngsters for future success. This is what this tournament is all about …and it has been so successful that since its launch in 2018, it has now evolved to offer not one but two tiers of competition.”

The Sandals MD said the competition allows for more teams “to get the opportunity to perform, to excel and be seen by the selectors.”

Anderson stated that sponsors are “extremely proud” with the onward performance of several Under-19 players who  have gone on to represent the national team, sub-regional sides and in some exceptional cases the West Indies Cricket junior squads.

He underlined the exemplary accomplishments of players that have competed in the event and went on to higher levels , such as Kimani Melius and Akeem Auguste, who went on to captain respective Windies Under-19 teams in global tournaments, in 2020 and 2022. Other notable players include Neil Mc. Kenzie, Tariq Gabriel and Theo Edward.

“That speaks volumes and tells us the impact that this tournament has had on our youngsters …and why Sandals and the Sandals Foundation continue to play our part in the development of our youth,” noted Anderson.

SLNCA President Julian Charles remarked that the association is “totally committed to continue providing this cricket (tournament) and development for the youngsters”.

Charles reiterated that the youngsters must continue to work hard to develop and excel in the sport. “Our youngsters over the past few years … have really been committed to the sport and I take every opportunity to encourage those who can influence the setting up of facilities to do so, so that our young men and women have access to practise.”

He disclosed that shortly, there will be an upgrade of the facilities in Soufriere, to include a new “practice facility”, and renovation of the Mindoo Phillip Park, through the efforts of the National Lotteries Authority [NLA].

Charles recalled the impact that the previous Sandals Youth Academy had in nurturing young players for future growth and representation in national, and regional teams. And also, the influence of coaches such as Desmond Haynes, Curtly Ambroise and others, as well, motivational talks from Brian Lara.

Cricket Officer in the Ministry of Sports, Clivus Jules acknowledged the partnership between Sandals and the SLNCA towards the development of young players and providing an opportunity for aspiring players to progress. He added: “We are excited that over the years, from 2018, Sandals has continued to support the nurturing of talent among the youth in Saint Lucia.”

Sunil Ramdeen, Sandals Resort Regional Public Relations Manager underlined the “strength of our partnership with our stakeholders, in particular, the SLNCA …and it has redowned to the benefit of all of our young players.”

He appealed for more crowd support at the matches, as “we really need to appreciate the talent and the hard work that they put in for this tournament.”

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