Month: January 2020

Tony Becca: Remembering cricketers of the past

first_img explosive opening batsman There were some wonderful players in this list, some who played while the real West Indies team was engaged elsewhere, one who played for Packer for a short time, one who toured with the West Indies but never played a Test match, and many who deserved to have played Test cricket for the full West Indies team but never got the chance because, as the saying goes, they probably came at the wrong time, or they were born at the wrong time. Williams, for example, with 100 on his debut against Jeff Thomson and the Australians led by Bobby Simpson in 1978, and with 111 against India, the best of India, in 1979, showed that he was good when he matched skills with some of the very best in the game. A batting aggregation of, probably, Williams, Griffith, Bonitto, Otto, Pinnock, Allen, Mohammad, and a bowling attack of Cohen, Lawson, Ferris, and Merrick would probably not have beaten Australia at Sabina Park in June, and certainly not as comfortably as England have been doing. Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and company, Michael Clarke, Steve Smith, David Warner and friends would have known, especially facing batsmen the calibre of Williams, Bonitto, Otto, Pinncok, and Allen, and fast bowlers such as Cohen, Lawson, Ferris, and Merrick that they were in a battle and not simply a short, one-sided exchange, one in which they hardly worked up a sweat. Had they got better opposition from the West Indies, Australia may have been prepared for England and the defence of the Ashes, and, probably, they would not have been so embarrassed. Bonitto played for Jamaica between 1947 and 1957. He played in only 17 first-class matches but scored 1,013 runs at an average of 58.87. He was a tall, elegant player who hit a top score of 207 not out versus British Guiana at Bourda in 1952, and 129 against the Duke of Norfolk’s team at Sabina Park in 1957. Griffith played for Barbados at age 16 and for Jamaica. He played in 25 first-class matches, scored 1,690 runs at an average of 35.93. He was an attacking, left-handed opening batsman who hit 143 against Barbados at Bourda in 1961, 146 against the International Cavaliers at Sabina Park in 1964, and 150 against the Combined Islands in St, John’s in 1966. Otto of Antigua played for the Leeward Islands 48 times and scored 2,550 runs with a top score of 165 at an average of 34.00. He was an attacking middle-order batsman who enjoyed a few memorable seasons. Pinnock, a wicketkeeper also, played 44 times for Jamaica, scored 2,662 runs and averaged 40.33. He scored 108 versus Trinidad at Queen’s Park Oval, 175 against Barbados at Kensington Park in 1969, 152 versus the Cavaliers at Sabina Park in 1970, 176 against Sussex at Hove in 1970, and was not out on 93 versus Guyana at Bourda in 1973. While watching the second Test between the West Indies and Australia at Sabina Park recently, I wondered just what had happened to the West Indies team which made the region proud in the past, especially, despite one or two hiccups, in the years between 1950 and 1995. I also wondered if the West Indies will ever rise to their former glory again, to the dizzying heights which saw them, between 1976 and 1995, lose only one Test series, become the undisputed champions of the world, arguably the best cricket team ever, and probably the best team of any team sports that the world has ever seen. Most importantly, however, I wondered if that West Indies team, the one which played against Australia recently, was the weakest the West Indies had ever put in to field. After coming to the conclusion that it probably was the weakest of all West Indies teams, including those teams that played Test cricket for the first time and those that were in action when the West Indies players were with Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket or otherwise on strike, I not only remembered some of the illustrious names of West Indies cricket, names such as George Headley, Learie Constantine, Clifford Roach down to Viv Richards, Brian Lara, and Courtney Walsh, but I also remembered some names that were not so illustrious. I remembered all those players who played for the West Indies when the team was with Packer, when the real team was on strike over and over and again, and I remembered players like Neville Bonitto, Teddy Griffith, Ralston Otto, and Renford Pinnock, players who were good players but players who never wore the maroon cap even once, and players who, were they playing today, would walk into the West Indies team which played against Australia recently. ELEGANT PLAYER WRONG TIME Basil ‘Shotgun’ Williams, an explosive opening batsman out of Jamaica, played while the better players were with Packer. Jim Allen, an aggressive batsman out of Montserrat and who played with the Packer players; Lockhart Sebastien, an opening batsman out of Dominica; and Luther Kelly, an attacking, awesome opening batsman out of St. Kitts. Timur Mohammad, an attractive left-handed batsman out of Guyana; Sam Morgan and Delroy Morgan, two openers out of Jamaica; Emerson Trotman, an aggressive batsman out of Barbados; Cleveland Davidson, Mark Neita and Wayne Lewis, three batsmen out of Jamaica; and Sudesh Dhaniram, a solid opening batsman out of Guyana. And there were also fast bowlers Rudy Cohen and Cecil Lawson out of Jamaica, George Ferris and Tony Merrick out of Antigua, and Prince Bartholomew out of Trinidad, and there was also one like Victor Eddy, an off-spinner from St. Kitts.last_img read more

Former champions Portmore United brace for tough Premier League return

first_img After being demoted two seasons ago, several senior players left for other Premier League clubs. Dixon disclosed that national defender Upston Edwards is the only player of note who is back in training at Portmore. “Our team is a young group, and we want to do well, so the main aim is to retain our place,” he emphasised. Portmore will count on former national midfielder Ewan ‘Butta’ Grandison, Suella McCalla, Kemar Foster, Paul Wilson, Stephen Williams, Kereem Manning, and Jovan East to lead their charge. Portmore apart, the other clubs in the league are defending champions Arnett Gardens, Montego Bay United, Waterhouse, Humble Lion, Harbour View, Cavalier SC, Rivoli United, Tivoli Gardens, Reno FC, Boys’ Town, and newcomers UWI FC. Three-time national football league champions, Portmore United, are bracing for a tough return to the Red Stripe Premier League 2015-16 season, which is tentatively set to start on September 6. Portmore United made a quick return to top-flight action after being demoted in 2014. They won the Major League and KO double in St Catherine, and followed up with the Central Confederation title and the Jamaica Football Federation play-off series. The St Catherine-based club won the national title in the 2011-12, 2007-08 and 2004-05 seasons. Now, coach and former Portmore United defender, Linval ‘Rudi’ Dixon, says the plan is to stay in the league in the upcoming season. “We have been in training for the past three weeks, and preparation is going well. We had a late start, but the players are showing positive signs,” Dixon told The Gleaner yesterday. “The team is bracing for a tough challenge. We have to be mentally and physically ready for the competition. We know it won’t be easy as it is a long season with many games to play,” he said. Although Portmore’s focus is on staying in the league, the former national defender is not ruling out winning the title for a fourth time since changing their name to Portmore United. “The team is very young, but the core has been together for three years. We want to first be safe for another season and, if we make the last four, we will certainly challenge for the title,” Dixon added. Exodus of playerslast_img read more

WI seeking redemption

first_imgCOLOMBO, Sri Lanka, CMC:West Indies will attempt to rebound from the sound thumping handed them by Sri Lanka last week when they square off with the hosts in the pivotal second and final Test, starting today.The Caribbean side suffered a heavy innings and six-run defeat inside four days in Galle, a result that extended their miserable run of never having won a Test match on Sri Lankan soil.Despite the drubbing, new captain Jason Holder says the mood in the camp has remained positive and said his side would be going all out to grab a win at the P. Sara Oval over the next five days.”For sure, the guys are upbeat for the second Test match,” Holder told a media conference here yesterday.”It’s obviously a must-win game for us to at least level the series, and the guys know the situation of the series, so it is all up to us to come into the series, into this last Test match, and just perform and get 20 wickets.”The batsmen need to give us a chance to get 20 wickets. In the last game, we only had one opportunity with the ball and we got 10 wickets, so hopefully, we can put some runs on the board and also get the 20 wickets.”Of major concern for West Indies will be their batting and their fielding. In Galle, only Jermaine Blackwood with 92 in the second innings and Darren Bravo with 50 in the first managed to get half-centuries.double figuresIn the first innings, 10 players reached double figures, but only one of the top eight batsmen passed 25 as West Indies collapsed for 251.The scenario was similar in the second innings, where six batsmen reached double figures, but only Blackwood managed to get past 35.”We’ve done a lot of talking within thedressing room. I think it just boils down to digging a little deeper,” Holder said regarding the batting.”We all got starts [in the last Test], so it is an opportunity now for guys to put their heads down, dig a little deeper, and carry on. I think that’s needed in this second Test match, and again, we’ve spoken about it, we’ve mentioned it, so it’s all down to the batsmen in this game.”One growing concern is the form of the experienced Marlon Samuels. He scored 11 and zero in Galle, following on from his disappointment in the tour match here two weeks ago when he failed to score.Holder said he was backing the stylish right-hander to strike form soon.”He just had a bad game, but that’s Test cricket, that’s international sport,” the 23-year-old said.”What is important is for Marlon to come back stronger. He is one of the guys who digs deep when his back is against the wall.”West Indies were guilty of four dropped catches in Sri Lanka’s massive first innings of 484. They put down Dinesh Chandimal twice and were forced to pay dearly as the right-hander chalked up 151.Holder said following that poor display, the team paid special attention to fielding during training sessions.”Over the last three days, we’ve done a lot of analysing. We’ve looked at a lot of footage. we’ve come into the practice sessions for the last few days and paid a lot of attention to our fielding,” Holder noted.Sri Lanka have made two changes to their squad for the Test, with off-spinner Dilruwan Perera and uncapped 20-year-old batsman Kusal Mendis replacing off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal and the out-of-form Lahiru Thirimanne.SQUADS:SRI LANKA – Angelo Mathews (captain), Lahiru Thirimanne, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Dinesh Chandimal, Rangana Herath, Dhammika Prasad, Kusal Perera, Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Pradeep, Tharindu Kaushal, Suranga Lakmal, Dilruwan Perera, Milinda Siriwardena, Kusal Mendis.WEST INDIES – Jason Holder (captain), Kraig Brathwaite, Jermaine Blackwood, Carlos Brathwaite, Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Rajendra Chandrika, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shai Hope, Denesh Ramdin, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Jomel Warrican.last_img read more

Rookie Jamaican pacer ‘pumped up’ for A Team baptism

first_imgBRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC): The Jamaican soldier, who was a surprise call-up for the upcoming West Indies A team tour of Sri Lanka, has described his selection as “awesome” and says he is “pumped up”  and “ready” to make use of the opportunity. Reynard Leveridge, a towering six-footer, serving in the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) for the past seven years, received an early birthday gift when he was included on a 14-member squad for the tour. Leveridge, who turns 26 tomorrow and who has never played first class cricket, has been preparing for the tour with the squad which will be led by Barbados’ Shamarh Brooks. “Getting picked for the West Indies A team and on my birthday, it’s coming up Thursday the 15th, I am ready. I am pumped up,” said the rookie Jamaican fast bowler, who caught the eye bowling with pace and hostility. “It is just an awesome feeling being here on my birthday away from home. Away from family, but I don’t mind. It is my dream to be in this camp and I really appreciate it.” Leveridge created a huge impression on many who saw him bowl in the nets earlier this year to India and West Indies Test players, ahead of the recent Sabina Park Test. He has been a consistent wicket-taker in Jamaica’s club matches over the last two years and would have made the Jamaica first class team last season after he took the most wickets at trials. However, he was ruled out with a side strain. “It was really a test and I enjoyed it,” said Leveridge, referring to his experience bowling to Test players. “I am bowling to the top batsmen in the world and to stand out at that level is just an awesome feeling.” Leveridge had a late start to his cricket career, after selectors noticed him during a camp held by the JDF about two years ago. After basic training he began playing for the army and helped them secure back-to-back Senior Cup titles. “While working on the Test match India versus the West Indies I met Ian Bishop. He was telling me that he was hearing a lot of good things. He saw me bowl a couple times and he told me I should just keep working hard,” said Leveridge, a former Jamaica national hockey player since the age of 15. “My plan to get into the West Indies team is to put out my best. Stay strong. Stay focused. Keep fit. A lot of training because it is a lot of work getting to the Test level, the international level.” West Indies A will play Sri Lanka A in three four-day games from October 4-21 and three one-dayers from October 24-30.last_img read more

Cummings delighted with K0 win, eyes daCosta Cup

first_imgWESTERN BUREAU: After leading Lennon High to a historic first lien on the ISSA-Flow Ben Francis KO title, Fitzroy Cummings, the team captain, said it’s only the beginning of great things from the school nestled in the hills of Mocho, Clarendon. “I feel delighted that we finally took home a major trophy. Winning the Ben Francis Cup is a big deal for all of us, and I am particularly happy to be the captain of this team,” said Cummings. At a specially arranged celebration yesterday, Cummings along with his teammates and the coaching staff were feted by the school, family members and residents of the hilly community, for their 4-2 victory on penalty kicks last week over St Elizabeth Technical. Cummings, who was like a rock at the heart of the defence for Lennon, noted his pleasure, playing with his teammates. “This is a special set of players to be playing with. We are like brothers. We enjoy so much of the same things and the coaches also treat us well and in return we treat them with respect,” Cummings stated. “We would love to also win the daCosta Cup and that would make it the most memorable year of my life so far, so it’s a great feeling right now,” he said. Cummings was the goal scorer in their 1-0 semi-final win over Cornwall College.last_img read more

Seventh heaven? – Red-hot Tivoli face Portmore United in RSPL

first_imgHigh-riding Tivoli Gardens will look to continue their winning streak when they face Portmore United at the Spanish Town Prison Oval today in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL), starting at 3 p.m. It is one of six games scheduled on match-day 17. Tivoli Gardens picked up their sixth consecutive wins in the RSPL when they hammered Harbour View 4-0 at the Edward Seaga sports Complex last Sunday. Now, the West Kingston-based outfit are on the hunt for a seventh straight win. Since Omar Edwards was hired as head coach of Tivoli during the summer, the team has improved this season after flirting with relegation in the last edition of the league. Edwards has commanded the respect of his players, and the team has been performing well to be in second place on 32 points . Leaders Montego Bay United (MBU) who are on 34 points. Tivoli will look towards former Reggae Boy and international player Jermaine ‘Teddy’ Johnson, who is the RSPL’s joint leading scorer on eight goals, the same as Shamar Nicholson of Boys’ Town. Johnson is expected to get support from Mitchily Waul and Elton Thompson. Portmore United, on the other hand, have been inconsistent and are coming off a 0-0 draw against struggling Waterhouse last Sunday. The Portmore team, under coach Lenworth Hyde Jnr, are in fifth position on 26 points and will look to secure three points at home. Portmore’s top players include Ewan Grandison, Javon East and Suela McCalla. In another game, leaders Montego Bay United will travel away to play against last-placed Boys’ Town at the Barbican Complex in St Andrew. Although MBU hold a commanding lead on points over Boys’ Town, who are on 11 points, it could be a close affair. MBU’s main players include national representatives Dino Williams, Allan Ottey and Dwayne Ambusley. Boys’ Town will look for a rare win with players such as Shamar Nicholson, Garfield Gillespie and captain Michael Campbell. Humble Lion will host Arnett Gardens in what should certainly prove to be a close and interesting contest. Maverley-Hughenden, who seems to be a different team since Anthony Patrick took over as coach from the sacked Lijyasu Simms, will look for a third straight win when they host Harbour View at the Constant Sports Spring Complex. Today’s games 3 p.m. – Boys’ Town vs Montego Bay United at Barbican Complex – Maverley-Hughenden vs Harbour View at Constant Spring Sports Complex – Humble Lion vs Arnett Gardens at Effortville Community Centre, Clarendon – Portmore United vs Tivoli Gardens at Prison Oval in Spanish Town – UWI FC vs Reno FC at the UWI Bowl, Monacenter_img 6 p.m. – Waterhouse vs Jamalco at Drewsland Stadiumlast_img read more

More sports in brief

first_imgYorke, John-Williams named to FIFA committees PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC): Former Manchester United star Dwight Yorke and FA head David John-Williams have been appointed to committees inside football’s world governing body, FIFA. The 45-year-old Yorke, who played over 70 times for Trinidad and Tobago, will serve on FIFA’s Development Committee and will be the only member from the Caribbean. Asian Football Confederation president, Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, will chair the committee which is tasked with analysing the basic aspects of football training and technical development. John-Williams, meanwhile, has been appointed to FIFA Players’ Status Committee and is expected to serve until 2021. Diego Costa returns tomorrow LONDON, England (AP): Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says striker Diego Costa will be available for Chelsea’s Premier League match against Hull tomorrow. The team’s top scorer missed last weekend’s win at Leicester with an apparent back injury amid reports of a dispute with the club that Conte did not deny. Conte says Costa “restarted having training sessions on Tuesday with the rest of the team. I think the player wants to stay at Chelsea. He’s very happy to play with us. This idea (to move) is far from his mind”. EPL managers tell FIFA to keep offside law LONDON, England (AP): Several English Premier League managers delivered a clear message to FIFA on Thursday: Preserve the offside law. Scrapping offside was the most radical of the ideas for changes to football floated by FIFA technical director Marco van Basten on Wednesday. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Southampton counterpart Claude Puel were receptive to Van Basten’s proposal to introduce a new orange-card sanction that sees players temporarily removed from the pitch for up to 10 minutes. But the offside law should be sacrosanct, as removing it would change the dynamic of the game, according to Wenger.last_img read more

Youngster-Goldsmith meet attracts more than 60 teams

first_imgTomorrow’s Youngster-Goldsmith meet at the National Stadium has attracted the cream of the crop from among local high schools. Meet organiser Raffic Shaw is very upbeat after receiving massive entries. “More than 60 teams have entered for the meet and the expectation is that it will be a day of fierce competition all round, especially among the boys,” Shaw said. The Michael Clarke-coached Calabar High will out in full force as only top 400m runner Christopher Taylor will be missing. Sprint hurdler, World Under-20 finalist De’Jour Russell, along with the likes of Michael Stevens and World Under-20 representative, hurdler Aykeem Francis are all set to appear at the meet. The 100 metres is a late addition to the list of events at the meet and teams are being charged an extra $200 per athlete to enter the event. According to Shaw, there has not been any complaint about the extra charge. “These athletes want to run the 100m at the National Stadium as most of the meets this season have featured the 200m. They want to use the opportunity to ensure that they have good qualifying marks for the event going into next month’s Boys and Girls’ Champs,” Shaw said. Tomorrow’s meet will start at 8 a.m. with the men’s 400 metres hurdles for clubs and institutions, to be followed with the high school boys open, Class Two clubs and institutions, girls’ open and girls’ Under-18. Other events on the track will include the, 2000 metres steeplechase, open for both males and females, and all sprint hurdles for males and females. The sprint hurdles will feature two rounds, with the eight fastest times advancing to the finals. There will also be invitational 200m events for boys Classes One, Two and Three; 400m and 1,500m. In the field, action will get underway with Class One girls discus, high jump, for Classes Two and Four girls and Class Two boys. Other field events include the javelin for males and females, triple jump (males and females) and long jump (males and females).last_img read more

Kim Collins to retire after World Champs

first_img Distinguished career BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, (CMC): Kim Collins said he will retire from track and field following this year’s IAAF World Championships in London. The evergreen former World sprint champion said he was proud of his longevity in the sport, but the time was now right to bring his career to an end. “I think London will be my last,” said the 41-year-old Collins. “My oldest son is now 19. The kids are growing. But it’s been great for the younger generation as it shows that if you take care of your body, you can have a long-lasting career. “I’m making sure my body is healthy, I’m eating right and getting a lot stronger in the gym which many years ago I didn’t do. My body is getting a lot stronger and more flexible which helps me perform to the best of my ability and not get injured.” Collins added: “My first appearance was in 1995 when I was on the relay. In 1997 when I came back, I had a small injury. I ended up running 21 seconds for the 100 metres. It’s the slowest 100m ever run! “I also have the slowest winning time ever run at a World Championships (10.07). And I’m the oldest man ever to medal in the 100 at the World Championships. Now I’m looking for another.” Collins, whose name adorns a thoroughfare in his home country St. Kitts & Nevis, has had a distinguished career. He has won five medals in 10 appearances at the World Championships including a gold medal in the 100 in 2003. He said there was no better place to bow out of the sport than the British capital, where fans of the sport are knowledgeable and very appreciative of good performances. “The crowd is deafening sometimes,” he said. “Especially when they announce Usain Bolt, you hear the fans screaming and shouting. It’s amazing. “That’s the thing about track and field. The fans come out to show their love and support. I personally appreciate that. When the fans come and show love and they’re rooting for you, you want to make sure you do right by them.” The World Championships are scheduled from August 4 to 13.last_img read more

Sky’s the limit for Blaise Bicknell

first_imgFollowing last weekend’s impressive victory at the Damion Johnson men’s and women’s Pro Tennis Tournament, Blaise Bicknell is hungry for more success, noting he wants to improve his International Tennis Federation (ITF) ranking.The outstanding 15- year-old is ranked 350 in boys ITF junior tennis, and copped two exciting and important victories over seniors at the Eric Bell Tennis Centre, Piccadilly Road in Kingston.Last Saturday, he upset Jamaica’s top ranked men’s player, and tournament organiser Damion Johnson, 6-1, 7-6. He then claimed victory on Sunday over Damion’s older brother Damar (Johnson), who now coaches in Florida, United States.Bicknell lost the first set 0-6, but stormed back to take the next two, 6-4, 6-3. Speaking with The Gleaner yesterday; Bicknell said the game was one of the toughest of his budding career.”I was very focussed and went out and played my best. It was really tough and I pressured back,” he explained.”It was my first time beating a top ranked player, I just went out there very determined to come out with the win,” the player recalled.BOOST TO CONFIDENCEThough Johnson is his coach and tournament organiser, young Bicknell was quick to point out that, that win has given him a lot of confidence, to take his career forward.”It has given me confidence going forward, this is a very good victory going into the Easter Bowl tournament in California, which I would like to do well in, and I will do my best and go for the victory,” he underlined.The ITF Juniors Easter Bowl Championship will take place March 27- April 2 in the USA.Bicknell, who has been playing on the ITF junior circuit, recently reached the round of 16 in a Level Three tournament in Costa Rica.He was praised for his tenacity by coach Damion Johnson.”I never like to lose but it is good to know that I have a hand in coaching this talented young player,” he said.last_img read more