With major support from Digicel, Banks DIH Limited and the Education Ministry, the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) on Friday afternoon unveiled the National Secondary Schools Cricket League; an initiative that is geared towards serving as conveyor belt for the national cricket programme.
Education Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, representatives of the two main sponsors and top officials of the GCB convened at the main pavilion of the Everest Cricket Club to disclose plans for the nationwide competition, which has attracted over 150 teams spread across the 10 administrative regions.
This secondary school tournament will soon be followed by a similar one for primary schools to complement the hugely successful Scotiabank Kiddy cricket programme, which is an intra-territorial competition coordinated by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
“In the past we have, in some ad hoc manner, run off secondary school cricket in the predominantly popular cricket areas of the country. Now we’re going even wider; you can understand with 150 schools playing in this competition the logistical issues and so on,” GCB Secretary and WICB Director Anand Sanasie said on Friday.
Sanasie divulged that the Education Ministry will provide cricket balls for the tournament, while adding that financial constraints had prevented the event from coming to fruition earlier. With this in mind, he expressed gratitude to Digicel and Banks DIH Limited, as well as the Education Ministry for partnering with the GCB.
Sanasie also used the opportunity to explain the format of the competition, which bowled off on Friday. “The purpose of running off secondary school cricket is to ensure that there is a feeder system for the clubs across the country, so we would be running off this competition in two pathways,” Sanasie stated.
He further explained, “It would be similar to the Ministry of Education’s Athletics competition where we cream all the players from inter-school to inter-zone to inter-district, and we will have a national district competition so we know who are the best cricketers coming out of the districts. We will also have another pathway where we want a national school to come out of this competition. The incentive for that school is that they will be fully sponsored by the GCB to attend the Sir Garfield Sobers Secondary School cricket competition, which is a big thing for the tourism authority in Barbados.”
In offering brief remarks, Dr Roopnaraine said he is eagerly looking forward to the success of the competition, and the impact it would have on the game in Guyana.
“I am really very happy to hear how much development there has been in cricket across the schools and I can’t wait to see the outcome… in other words, the team that is going to emerge, and act really as a feeder into our system,” Dr Roopnaraine intimated.
He continued, “I’ve been complaining for years about the fact that we are not in effect developing nationally the cricket through the school and the clubs and so on, leading to a lot of anaemic performance right at the top. I think we’re on the way to correcting that and I want to congratulate those who have organised this competition and also those who have made it possible with their financial support.”
The two major sponsors of the League are Digicel and Banks DIH Limited, whose representatives Luana Abrams and Errol Nelson were more than pleased to express their respective company’s delight to partner with the GCB.
Abrams told the gathering, “Digicel is always a company that really focuses on youth development by encouraging sport in the schools and encouraging our youths to move forward in their athletic capabilities. We’ve had our inter-school football competition, which most of you would know about, where we try to get almost all the schools involved, and so to be a part of the inter-school cricket competition where many schools will be able to participate I do believe it’s a great initiative… and I want to commend the persons who have coordinated and planned this event.”
Nelson, reading from a prepared statement, outlined, “Banks DIH Limited has always supported cricket and our sponsorship of this National Secondary School Cricket League demonstrates our steadfast involvement in the development of cricket in Guyana. Part of our involvement in this League will be in the form of creating awareness of our Rainforest Waters brand by way of branding at the various cricket grounds and providing Rainforest Waters as refreshment for the cricketers at the games.”
Also sharing the head table at Friday’s launch were GCB President Drubahadur, GCB Territorial Development Officer Colin Stuart, National Sports Commissioner Administrator Gervy Harry and Child Protection Officer Orette Francois.
They all embraced the idea of a national competition for secondary school students and wished the organisers well. The tournament will roll over into 2016.
(Taken from Guyana Times)