By Neto Baptiste
Captain of the triumphant PIC Liberta Blackhawks, Rahkeem Cornwall, believes the club’s future is bright and has credited “young players” like Karima Gore, Kofi James and Uri Smith for their unblemished run in this year’s Cool & Smooth T20 Explosion.
“The youngsters that we have in the likes of Karima Gore, Uri Smith and Kofi James, I think these guys are fully matured now. I think they are the ones carrying the team and we just have to guide them. The work we are putting in over at Liberta is showing and you can see that this is a team that has been practising hard and it was just for us to come out and put on a good show,” he said.
Blackhawks were unbeaten in five matches to lift this year’s title and claim the $22,000 prize. Gore emerged Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament after having scored a total of 156 runs and claiming six wickets. He was also Man of the Match in Saturday’s final against CUB Bethesda Golden Eagles after hitting 46 runs and claiming three wickets for nine runs in four overs.
Blackhawks also featured a number of regional and international players throughout the tournament to include West Indies spinner, Hayden Walsh Jr, Leeward Islands players Jahmar Hamilton, and James. According to Cornwall, himself a West Indies and Leeward Islands player, managing the egos was pivotal to the team’s success.
“Kenny Benjamin has always echoed that we must keep the ego out of the cricket and stay level-headed, and once we play good cricket there is no doubt that we will come out on top. I think that guys resects that, resects each other and just enjoy each other’s success,” the hard-hitting all-rounder said.
Meanwhile, one member of the team’s coaching staff and assistant coach of the Leeward Islands Hurricanes, Wilden Cornwall, said he was confident that once the players applied themselves, the team would have found success in the tournament.
“Based on my dialogue with Kenny — because I am not based here but we do a lot of video calls where we assess practice sessions and put planning in place especially for this tournament — the way the guys came out and prepared for this tournament, I expected this,” he said.
Blackhawks defeated Golden Eagles by 89 runs on the Duckworth and Lewis Method after the match was abandoned due to rain. At the time, however, the contest was pretty much over with Eagles on 61 for nine off 13.5 overs after chasing the 165 posted by the Blackhawk.