2015 was a success story for Guyana’s cricket

The dominance of Guyana teams from 2014 spilled over into 2015 making the year the most successful one for Guyana’s cricket.
Guyana’s under-19 team won the ‘double’ in 2014 and successfully defended their one-day title in Jamaica, while their First-Class side, won the PCL and seem well on course for a repeat crown with a massive lead after half of the matches in the PCL were completed at the end of 2015.

Guyana’s under-15s won the Regional tournament on home soil while a destructive spell by Sunil Narine, who was allowed to bowl with a questionable action, denied Guyana the Regional Super50 final which they lost to Trinidad & Tobago in the Final in Port-of-Spain. Narine grabbed 6-9 as Guyanese were bowled out for 65. The Guyanese Franchise also lost in the CPL Final under questionable circumstances to Barbados in St Kitts.

The Regional U-19 three-day competition was scrapped for the first time since it was first played in 1976, while there was no female under-19 tournament as the baffling decisions by the WICB continued at a time when West Indies seem incapable of batting long enough to at least save Test matches and the Regional Board is coming under increasing fire.

The ignoring of successful Guyanese players for the West Indies team by the Clive Lloyd led selection panel gave many the impression that his panel was indeed being influenced by ‘outside’ forces as claimed by Head Coach Phill Simmons. Veerasammy Permaul, Leon Johnson and Assad Fudadin could feel hard done by 71 year-old Lloyd and his selectors.

The embattled Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) embarked on intense training sessions from August and success at the senior level was mainly due to them being the best prepared side in the PCL tournament. The GCB also provided 12 young players with Academy contracts which meant that they could focus more on their cricket development and be paid to play cricket.

The staging of the National Secondary School’s cricket League and the introduction of a Local Franchise League which replaced the Inter County tournament are very commendable moves to expose more players to Guyana’s premier level. This eight team 50-over tournament, which climaxed with the final under lights at Albion, was also used to select Guyana’s team for the 2016 NAGICO Super50 which begins on January 7.

The Cricket Administration Bill was passed through the assent of former President Donald Ramotar, thus becoming a law. But this piece of legislation was never used to help Guyana’s cricket.

The 41 year-old Shiv Chanderpaul was dropped from the Test team without being afforded the opportunity to be given a proper send off by his fans after severing West Indies Cricket for 21 years. He refused to retire, stating that he was going to bat his way back into the West Indies side.

Even some of his most loyal fans questioned his decision saying that he was now keeping out a younger player from the team since it was evident that he was not the batsman he was five years ago.
Guyana continued their success in Regional Senior Cricket:

On the field Guyana began the year by reaching the NAGICO Super50 Final before continuing their 12 match unbeaten streak in PCL cricket which started in the fourth round of the 2014 PCL.
The Jaguars beat Jamaica by 105 runs in Jamaica with Permaul (86* & 4-22) and 77 from Shiv Chanderpaul helping in the emphatic win.

They then hammered the Leewards by eight wickets in Antigua with Ronsford Beaton (4-40), Devendra Bishoo (6-82) and Rajendra Chandrika (83) leading the way.

The Jaguars beat Barbados by four wickets as Bishoo (6-94), Vishaul Singh (60) Barnwell (56), Chandrika (60) and Reifer (41*) powered the South Americans to another win.

The hosts then beat Jamaica by five wickets at Providence with Permaul (5-77) and (4-62) in the first innings, while Chandrika (69) and Johnson (78), Permaul (5-33) & Bishoo (4-22) did the damage in the second innings, while Johnson (58) and Singh (57) batted well to see Guyana home.
Guyana & T&T Red Force played to a draw at Providence with Chandrika (51), Singh (52) and Bramble (63) doing the scoring while Bishoo had 6-79.

In Dominica in March, Guyana’s last match, the Windwards suffered a defeat by an innings and 10 runs with Barnwell (148) getting his first century at this level and veteran Shiv Chanderpaul (119) being the main scorers. Permaul (4-64) and Bishoo (6-74) did the damage in the first innings while Bishoo (4-38) bowled well in the second innings. Permaul ended as the tournament’s leading wicket taker with 67, while Bishoo had 61 and the inaugural PCL Champions finished with 148 points.

In the second edition of the PCL which started on November 6, the Jaguars won all five of their games in the first half to finish the year with 85 points, 22 more by than second placed Barbados who ended with 63 and Jamaica, who finished third on 53 points.

Guyana started with three back-to-back wins at Providence beating the Windwards, Leewards and Barbados before defeating T&T in Trinidad ending a highly successful year for Guyana’s cricket on the field with a 117-run win against Jamaica in their own backyard.

Debutant 20-year-old left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie enjoyed a dream start to his First-Class career with four five-wicket hauls in 34 wickets from five games, the most in the tournament. Off-Spinner Steven Jacobs (19) and Veerasammy Permaul (17) were also successful with the ball for Guyana.

Vishaul Singh (421) has the most runs for Guyana and second to Barbadian Roston Chase who has 436 but from one more innings than the 26-year-old Singh who has an average of 60.14 despite being run out twice.

Skipper Leon Johnson (275) is the second highest run-scorer among his team, while Shiv Chanderpaul (226) and Assad Fudadin (218) are the other Guyanese with 200 runs. Rajendra Chandrika, Singh (2) and Fudadin are the Guyanese centurions.
Regional Women’s Cricket:

From August 6-16 in T&T, the Guyana women lost three matches and only won once, to finish fourth in the Regional 50 overs competition. West Indies batter Shemaine Campbell scored the most runs for Guyana (160) with a highest score of 59 not out and an Average of 56.14. Akaze Thomson’s four wickets were the most by a Guyanese.

The Guyana Amazon Warriors lost in controversial fashion to Barbados Tridents in the final of the 2015 CPL t20 tournament in St Kitts after Trinidadian Lendl Simmons had scored the most runs (446) in the tournament. New Zealand’s Martin Guptill was the other Warriors’ batsman to score 300 runs.

Left-arm pacer Krishmar Santokie took 17 wickets for the Guyana Franchise, only one behind the tournament leader Ravi Rampaul, while Narine, who also played for the Warriors, bagged nine.
Guyana dominated Regional Youth cricket

From July 7-14, in the WICB U-17 tournament in Tobago the South Americans finished fourth after winning three and losing two of their games. Renaldo Ali Mohamed scored 70 and Bashkar Yadram made 69 as left-arm spinner Ashmead Nedd took 4-23 as Guyana beat Barbados. Their two other wins were against the Leewards and T&T.

The Regional U-19 Tournament was held in Jamaica from July 22 and the Guyanese started with a five-wicket loss to Barbados before beating T&T by three wickets and the Leewards by six runs with Shemron Hetymer getting 135. Hetmyer missed consecutive centuries by two runs as Guyana got past Barbados by seven wickets.

Guyana then beat Canada by four wickets with Kemo Paul getting 51 before getting past Jamaica by a similar margin as Hetmyer continued his good run with 55.

Before last year, Guyana had not won a one-day title since that format was first played in 1998 when it was organised as a replacement for the washed out Three-day competition, but in two successive years they won two 50-over titles. Hetmyer and Paul were named Captain and Vice-Captain respectively for the West Indies U-19 World Cup team which leaves on January 6 for Bangladesh. This is the first time that these two positions were given to players from the same country.

In July Guyana won the WICB Regional U-15 tournament on home soil after needing to beat the Windwards in the final round at Providence to take the title. Sachin Singh scored the most runs for Guyana while Kevin Omroa took the most wickets.
Domestic cricket.

Local Franchise League (50-Overs)

At the local level, Lower Corentyne, New Amsterdam, Canje defeated Upper Corentyne at Albion on December 19 in the inaugural Final of the eight-team GCB’s Local Franchise 50-over League which replaced the annual Inter-County tournament. Seon Hetmyer, Jonathon Foo, Kemo Paul, Kandasammy Surujnarine and Danny Narayan scored centuries in the competition.

In the Final, Seon Hetmyer’s 100 not out and Man-of-the-Match Royston Crandon (75 & 6-26) shared in 132-run stand after joining forces with their team on 31-5 in five overs. Berbice won both the under-19 Male and female Inter-County tournaments.
Local First Division club cricket

County Cricket

In Demerara, GCC won the GCA’s Hadi’s two day first division by winning the final at Bourda while they lost to home side DCC in the final of the Carib Beer GCA’s t20 tournament. This game was carried live by NCN’s Radio.

Walton Hall won the North Essequibo title in Region Two, while the Final of the Essequibo Busta Festival for teams from all eight area Committees will be played this month between South Essequibo and East Bank Essequibo. Bartica was the only area which did not participate.

Bravados took the East Coast Cricket Board’s Elizabeth Styles 40-over first division title by beating Better Hope, while Lusignan defeated Golden Grove in the Busta t20 final at Lusignan.

In Berbice, Rose Hall Town Youth & Sports Club (RHTYSC) won the Berbice River Bridge 50-over first division competition when they got a walk over from Albion in the final.

Albion and RHTYSC will clash in the final of the Tenelec Inc first-division 50-over this month, while Tucber Park and RHTYSC will battle in the Final of the Busta 40-over final which will also be played early this year.

GCB/Banks DIH Ltd/Digicel National Secondary Schools Cricket League
Chase Academy 14 year-old left-arm spinner Ashmead Nedd dominated with both bat and ball as his school emerged inaugural champions of the North Georgetown Zone.

The East Georgetown Zone was won by St Joseph’s High, while Lodge High & Charlestown Secondary will contest the South Georgetown Final early this year.

East Bank Demerara zone was won by Camille’s Institute, the Highway zone went to Dora Secondary, while Linden Foundation took the Upper Demerara zone and the West Bank Demerara zone was won Patentia Secondary.

Uitvlugt Secondary captured the West Coast Demerara, the Wakenaam zone was won by Essequibo Islands Secondary, Leguan Secondary took the Leguan title and the Essequibo Coast zone was won by Anna Regina Multilateral.

East Bank Essequibo zone Finals will be played early this year between Parika Salem Vergenoegen.

Upper Corentyne, Lower Corentyne and the East Coast Demerara zone are yet to be completed. New Amsterdam/Canje have emerged as district champions from the New Amsterdam/Canjie district, while Rosignol Secondary won the West Berbice district.

The progressive stage of the League shall be Inter Schools within zones, Inter schools for the better schools of Zones, intermediate Districts for better schools within specified districts and Inter Country district finals for the two main Country districts, that is, winner of Corentyne to Georgetown Country District and the winner of Upper Demerara to Essequibo Coast Country District.
The overall winning school will earn a trip to the 2016 Sir Garfield Sobers schools tournament in Barbados.

A Nationwide Kiddies cricket tournament, sponsored by Scotia Bank, was also held in 2015.West Indies struggled at Test level in 2015.

While the females kept the West Indies flying proudly at the International level with Jamaican Stefanie Taylor copping the ICC’s female cricketer of the year, the West Indies men’s team sunk to an all time low, winning just a single Test match in the entire year. Their fans ushered in the New Year of 2015 to the depressing news that West Indies had lost the final Test of the three-Test series in South Africa by eight wickets to lose the series 2-0.

They were then knocked out of the ICC World Cup at the Quarter Final stage in March before drawing the three-series home series against England 1-1 in May, while the Caribbean side lost both Tests to Australia the next month when the Aussies toured the West Indies for a two-test series.

In October, the woeful West Indies who, for the first time ever, failed to qualify for an ICC event, traveled to Sri Lanka where they lost both Tests before ending the year with back-back defeats in the first two Tests in Australia.

Chairman of Selectors Clive Lloyd’s contradictory uttering and actions was baffling since he said he was selecting young players who performed at Regional level yet he ignored Permaul who had the most wickets (69) in a season and did not select Leon Johnson for the England home series, although he had scored a half-century in his last Test in South Africa. Rajendra Chandrika became the 49th Guyanese to play Test cricket when he made his debut against Australia and became only the second West Indian to score a double duck on debut.

Feature by Sean Devers for Kaieteur News)