Saint Lucia
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Young Cricketers Urged to Reach for Greatness

YOUNG cricketers on island have been urged to continue to work hard at their game in order to excel to higher levels.

Sports Minister Kenson Casimir presents award to Top Batter of the tournament Khan Elcock
Sports Minister Kenson Casimir presents award to Top Batter of the tournament Khan Elcock

Players, organsiers and sponsors of the 6th edition of the SLNCA Sandals Under-19 Tournament gathered, last Friday, to recognize the outstanding performances of respective players and teams at a prize giving ceremony.

Regional Public Relations Manager at Sandals Resorts, Sunil Ramdhin noted that since Saint Lucia has lots of young talented players, the Caribbean hotel chain company felt impelled to do something to help nurture the skills of these youngsters. Originally conceptualized as a three-year event, the tournament has moved into its sixth year.

He said the tournament was conceptualized to create an opportunity for youngsters “to be able to display their talents” as Saint Lucia is full of phenomenal talent. And some of these players have gone on to represent the country and the wider Windward Islands and West Indies cricket squads.

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“This tournament is just growing from strength to strength,” Ramdhin told the gathering at the Sandals Halcyon conference room.

“We’ve always tried to evolve this tournament,” he added. “It started off as the Sandals Cup and evolved into a two-tier tournament, because we wanted to give it as much exposure as possible.”

Ramdhin informed that the hotel company has been in discussions with the management of the Saint Lucia National Cricket Association [SLNCA] and have “exciting ideas” for next year’s event.

He said the tournament “was borne out of something very critical to West Indies Cricket …and very critical to who we are as Caribbean people, Caribbean sports men and women and that is passion”.

Added Ramdhin: “We have a real passion for seeing you guys do well.”

He recalled the ‘glory days’ of the West Indies cricket team as a highly rated and skilled world championship team to be reckoned with, “and the success of that team was that those guys played for something that was more than just a contract . They played with passion …with pride and they played to make a difference, they played for legacy.”

Urging on the young players, the Sandals Resorts official stated, “We have such tremendous legacy and passion …you guys are standing on the shoulders of ‘real giants’ and I look forward to you guys going on to (accomplish) tremendous things , too.”

President of the St Lucia Cricket Association [SLNCA] Julian Charles reiterated the need for a revival of passion in West Indies cricket, who as world champions “dominated the game for 15 years”.

He noted that Saint Lucia has produced players of leadership qualities, the likes of Daren Sammy, Kimani Melius and Akeem Auguste who have captained Windies Senior and Junior squads; as well as Zadia James a debutant on the Windies Women Senior team and captain of the Windwards Women Junior side.

Charles told the players to grab hold of the many opportunities available presently, to help them achieve higher standards in the sport.

Managing Director of Sandals Resorts in Saint Lucia Winston Anderson noted that the Gros Islet Under-19 Cricket team has won its 5th championship title in the tournament, duly deserved winners of this year’s event.

“Sandals has always been committed to the development of young players and we feel it is critical that they be able to play from a solid foundation to give you that balance to score freely in whatever career you choose,” he said.

Noting the development of the tournament over the years, he declared, “Sandals believes in the power of the Caribbean, we are the Caribbean …we believe in the greatness of our Caribbean people and most importantly, the young stars sitting here (today), I want you to know that we believe in you.”

Added Anderson: “We believe that many of you …will rise to the highest heights of the cricket world in whatever career that you choose and will do Saint Lucia and in fact the West Indies proud.”

He appealed to the young athletes to push hard to achieve their goals, stating that: “Hard work, passion, commitment, and discipline always pays off. I encourage you to continue on the path that you have chosen, I see great stars ahead and a bright future for all of you.”

Meanwhile, the awards presented were as follows:

Main Cup:

Most Runs – Khan Elcock

Most Wickets – Royce Paul

MVP Finals – Khan Elcock

MVP (Cup) – Royce Paul

1st Place – Gros Islet

2nd Place – Central Castries

Plate Cup:

Most Runs – Nial Deterville

Most Wickets – Isaiah Jones

1st Place – Mabouya Valley

2nd Place – Gros Islet II.