Cricket Association’s U-17 To Bowl Off

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The Antigua & Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) will host the inaugural Sir Richie Richardson Under-17 Cricket Tournament starting Saturday at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.
Six teams representing the country’s parishes will compete in the first-time competition which will host three matches per day starting 10 am, 12 pm and a day/night contest from 4 pm.
President of the ABCA, Leon Rodney, said this year’s tournament should complement the under-15 competition held two years ago in 2015 with some of those same players set to appear for teams in the upcoming competition.
“We felt that an under-17 would also give the under-15 players an opportunity, so that’s what we have gone with. We wanted to only have day/night matches but the Carnival crept up on [us] so fast and things happened so quickly that we are going to now play all day/night matches. The last time when we only had four teams it was very easy to just play the matches on Fridays and Saturdays because the kids go to school in the week and you don’t really want them out too late,” he said.
The ABCA, Rodney said, will however guard closely against some coaches abusing the system by fielding over-age players, an issue he said that plagued the under-15 tournament two years ago.
“We had a meeting on Friday with the coaches and Kenny Lewis [1st Vice President of the ABCA] who is the lead person in terms of putting the teams together. We want it to be just as the [Cricket West Indies] and my understanding is that you can be 17, I think, by September 1st [otherwise] you should not be allowed to play,” the former national coach said.
The competition will be a 30 overs aside contest with matches being played on a daily basis from August 26-30. The semifinals will be played on September 1 and 2 with the finals on September 3. Both the semifinals and the finals will start at 5 pm.
A minimum of 17 players, Rodney said, will be chosen following this year’s tournament as the country prepares for a number of youth tournaments.
“After that tournament [under-15s] we were supposed to have 17 to 20 players who would have gone into a regular training. After this tournament, you will definitely see about 30 players because we want to have to under-15 selectees and the under-17s but especially the under-15s because this year the Leeward Islands under-15 tournament will be held in December,” he said.
The parishes of St Phillip’s, St Paul’s, St George’s, St John’s, St Mary’s and St Peter’s will all be represented during the tournament.
On Saturday, St Phillip’s take on St Paul’s at midday; St Mary’s play St John’s at 10 am; and St Peter’s face St George’s at 4 pm.

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