7th Edition of the Sandals Under-19 Cricket Tournament Promises Much Excitement

By Reginald Andrew
Sandals Resort staff, local sports officials and players at the media launch.
Sandals Resort staff, local sports officials and players at the media launch.

THE 7th edition of the Saint Lucia National Cricket Association (SLNCA) Sandals Under-19 Cricket Tournament was launched Thursday.

This tournament has produced some top players in the sub-region  who compete regionally and internationally.

At the launch the various speakers acknowledged the impact the Under-19 tournament has had in moulding some good and some exceptional players from the tournament. It is anticipated that this year’s event will produce much hype with additional incentives in store for the players.

The tournament is due to start on February 24 with a total of six Top Tier teams participating at venues across the island.

A special feature in this year’s event will be the introduction of ‘Corporate Partners’ from the four Sandals properties and other entities to provide additional support to the six teams.

Managing Director for Sandals Resorts /Eastern Caribbean Winston Anderson urged the players to aspire for greatness in their quest to achieve a successful career.

“We are proud of all of our players, both male and female who have continued to do extremely well,” he said.

Noting the connotation of #7 as a ‘lucky number’, Anderson added, “while luck plays a part it has very little to do with your success in life.”

He said that, “people create their own luck by solid preparation, good strategy, passion and thats where our administrators and coaches come in”.

The Sandals official urged the players, some of whom were present at the launch, to take in the valued instructions and advice given by their coaches.

While expressing his pleasure as an avid cricket fan, he recalled the Glory Days of cricket when the West Indies Cricket Team were recognized as a top team in global sports. He said West Indians are great lovers of the game that brings tremendous pride and joy to many within the region and the wider Diaspora.

“I believe that we have the talent. All we need to do is to find the will to do it and that is the reason we have remained with the tournament for so long,” he declared.

Anderson noted the exploits of local players, such as, Kimani Melius and Akeem Auguste who have distinguished themselves in regional youth cricket leadership – both players having captained Windies Under-19 squads at the ICC Under-19 World Cups.

Emphasizing the leading hospitality resort brand’s commitment to the development of the game in the region, he added: “Sandals Resorts along with Sandals Foundation …we are totally committed to creating opportunities for our young people. And one of the key ways to do this is through the development of sporting initiatives.”

He said the endeavour goes beyond cricket, and also takes in football, tennis, golf, basketball and school sports “as we are totally committed to the development of sports in general.”

Said Anderson: “We make that investment expecting nothing in return, other than for you to excel and be the best that you can be and to go on to become future West Indies players.”

Director of Sports, Clivus Jules stated that “it was an excellent time to be an Under-19 player because we have corporate support.” He said the Ministry of Youth and Sports, alongside the St Lucia National Cricket Association [SLNCA] and other partners collaborate “to ensure (that) the opportunities are presented to you.”

Jules added, “It has been seven years since we planted that seed, we nurtured that seed of Under-19 cricket. This is a time for this cricket to spread out this is your time to shine as young cricketers and Sandals have given you that opportunity to shine.”

Addressing the gathering, SLNCA President Wayne Auguste described Sandals as the cornerstone of support for the tournament. He said, the popular resort chain has demonstrated unwavering commitment to nurturing the young cricket talent in Saint Lucia.

Auguste asserted that the SLNCA “is committed to enhancing the potential and guiding Saint Lucian cricket towards even greater success.

“Our strategic plan is focused on empowering our affiliates, expanding cricketing participation, ensuring improved governance, and developing elite cricketers.”

He said the SLNCA is focused on “strengthening partnerships” with key stakeholders, while acknowledging the input of Sandals, “as this tournament has played a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of cricket in our region. Through its doors has emerged exceptional talent, who have not only represented the West Indies Under-19, but have also transcended to even higher cricket, with some of them right now playing at the first-class level.”

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