JUST 72 hours to go before the first ball is bowled behind closed gates when the Saint Lucia National Cricket Association (SLNCA) stages its inaugural T10, dubbed “Dream XI Saint Lucia Blast”. The tournament runs from Tuesday 23rd June to Wednesday 8th July.
Out of the 10 participating teams, tournament favourite Gros Islet Cannon Blasters (GICB) is leaving no stone unturned as they intend to keep a very close eye on the tournament prize money and champion’s trophy.
Spectators will not be allowed at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground (DSCG) to view the matches, as mass crowd events, to include sporting tournaments and contact sporting events remain restricted social activities. As per reports reaching the VOICE, all the matches will be streamlined via Winners TV. Cricket fans can also watch the games live streamed on the FanCode app or website, fancode.com.
Head coach for the GICB team Alton Crafton spoke to the VOICE earlier this week about his team’s preparation thus far and what one can expect from the players throughout.
In terms of practice Crafton said, “Practice has been going well so far; the players are very keen and looking forward to the tournament. The attendance for training has been very good”.
Crafton did not single out anyone, but was quick to say, “I would hate to highlight any one individual; we are playing as a team and we believe on any given day anyone can raise their hands, but clearly we have the likes of Dalton Polius (middle order batsman), Larry Edward (all-rounder) Tarryck Gabriel (top order batsman), Dornan Edward (all-rounder), Kimani Melius (opening batsman) all with first class experience. Vernillius Gabriel (wicketkeeper/batsman) is one of our senior batsmen and we’re looking forward to him doing well in the tournament”.
The head coach expects the players mentioned above to provide guidance to the younger players.
He continued, “We are complemented by players like Simeon Gerson (left arm orthodox spinner), Garvin Serieux Jr (wicketkeeper/batsman) and Lee Solomon (top order batsman) who on their day can carry us to victory”.
According to Crafton, “I must admit that format is not our ideal one, the T10/10 version is what it is. We are in it. Our goal is to win. Why go into something and you are not in it to win? We have what it takes to win. We have talented players, good team spirit and good team ethics, and with that we are looking forward to winning the tournament”.
Crafton said, “In terms of our preparation, last weekend (Sunday 14th) we had two practice matches against South Castries Lions (SCL) at the Mindoo Phillip Park; these games were very keenly contested. In the first encounter, Gros Islet won by two runs. Scores in the match – Gros Islet Cannon Blasters (GICB) batting first made 106 for 6 in their allotted 10 overs. Kimani Melius (captain) making 33; Garvin Serieux 19 and Jard Goodman 10 not out.
Bowling for SCL, Tarrique Edward picked up 3 for 13 in 2 overs.
In reply, South Castries Lions reached 104 for 4 in their allotted overs with Johnson Charles and Tonius Simon scoring 29 each, Collinus Callender 15 and Kester Charlemagne 10 not out.
Bowling for the GICB; Kymani Sexius, Tyrel Chicot and Simeon Gerson took 1 wicket each.
In the second game on the same day, South Castries Lions won by 4 runs. Batting first SCL made 121 for 6 in their allotted 10 overs with Alex Antoine making 36, Kester Charlemagne 31 and Johnson Charles 11.
The wicket takers for the GICB: Simeon Gerson with 2 for 18 and Tyrel Chicot with 2 for 23 and 1 wicket each to Kymani Sexius and Tarryck Gabriel.
In reply, the Blasters finished with 117 for 4 in their allotted 10 overs, with Garvin Serieux top scoring with 55, Tarryck Gabriel 24 and Kimani Melius 19.
Bowling for SCL, Royce Paul and Kester Charlemagne took 2 wickets each.
Following the encounter against SCL, Crafton said, “It was very good to see our players on the square for the first time after a few months off due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the various protocols associated with it”.
Meanwhile, teams continued to fine tune their preparation for the tournament, on Wednesday afternoon at the Mindoo Phillip. In a practice game, Babonneau Leatherbacks (BLB)defeated a formidable South Castries Lions (SCL) team which included, Daren Sammy, Johnson Charles and Alex Antoine in a nail biter, BLB winning on the last ball of the match.
Batting first, SCL made 78 for 7 in their allotted 10 overs, Alex Antoine top scoring with 21, Kemrol Charles 19 and Daren Sammy 15.
Bowling for BLB, Zayee Antoine 1 for 14; Nyheem Rosemond 1 for 15; Caleb Thomas 1 for 10 and Shervon Joseph 1 for 16.
Requiring 79 for victory, Babonneau Leatherbacks reached their target off the final ball of the inning, the main contributor, Shervon Joseph scoring 45 not out which included three 4s and three 6s; he was the only batsman to get to double figures, extras contributed 11.
Bowling for SCL, Daniel Jn Baptiste 2 for 14 and Kester Charlemangne 2 for 11.
Weather permitting this weekend, the participating teams in the tournament will be engaged in a series of practice matches at various venues.