St. John’s Antigua- Five of Antigua & Barbuda’s national under-15 cricketers have been selected to attend a pre-tournament training camp ahead of the Leeward Islands Under-15 Tournament slated for July in Jamaica.
Captain and all-rounder Urvin Lewis who attends Antigua Grammar School (AGS), all-rounder Tassilo Allen of Clare Hall Secondary (CHS), off-spinner Zidanne Douglas of Ottos Comprehensive Secondary (OCS), all-rounder Shacoy Floyd of Pares Secondary and all-rounder Uri Smith of St Joseph’s Academy (SJA) were all identified by scouts following two exhibition matches against Montserrat last weekend.
Manager of the Antigua Under-15 team that travelled to Montserrat last weekend and former national player, Austin Richards Sr said all the players did well but that the five selected players were the pick of the litter.
“Urvin Lewis, he was the captain of the Antigua under-15 team on that trip and he performed creditably well. He was like a marshal out in the middle and everybody in Montserrat that were at the grounds were talking about him and his mannerism in how he handled the team, and certainly he is a player that we will have to look forward to for the future,” Richards Sr said.
“The other guys, they have held their own and they were pretty adamant that they wanted to do well in spite of the situation, and so we were satisfied in spite of having very little preparation whatsoever going down to Montserrat. These guys were playing for their schools in the under-19 tournament and they stood out.”
The camp, which is expected to commence just before the July tournament, will host a cadre of players from across the Leeward Islands and according to Richards, the five Antiguans will have to further earn their place on the squad.
The former national player said adequate preparation will be available for all players through the schools programme slated to bowl off next week.
“Our under-15 tournament should have gotten on the way today (Friday) but because of the inclement weather we had to push it back until maybe Tuesday. And between that time, our under-15 competition will run right down until somewhere to maybe 14th June; so they will have adequate preparation playing for their schools and I think the coach on that trip would be someone like Pernel Watley. He will be coaching that team to Jamaica, so they will be playing cricket.”
Richards denied reports that only a 10-member team made the trip to Montserrat. According to the government employee, his original number of 15 was scaled down but not to such a dramatically low number.
“It’s no way that I would be managing a team and going to Montserrat with only 10 players and wherever that is coming from, it is rather unfortunate. I had asked for 15 players and I was told that the Antigua & Barbuda Cricket Association could not afford 15. So I said, ‘OK, let it be 14 just in case something happens’, as the players were travelling on the boat and the secretary of the cricket association said that they cannot afford 14 players so I have to go with 13; and so 13 players went.”
Antigua & Barbuda lost both of their matches in Montserrat, going down by 32 runs in the opening 50-over clash on Saturday and then by five wickets in a second 50-over battle on Sunday.