By Neto Baptiste
Teams competing in the annual Parish League Cricket competitions will be asked to focus more on development as organisers seek to encourage the involvement of younger players.
This is according to one member of the organisation’s parent body, Mark Charles, who said three for a more balanced blend of youth and experience.
“The teams that are currently there, we are going to encourage them to have some coaching things done with the youths and earlier I name three communities that were doing something. Parish League has actually evolved now and because there is no Thursday League cricket we have a show going on every Thursday from three to 4:30 [pm] called Talking Parish League Live and the focus of this is to talk about the history,” he said.
“When you go on the page you see the older guys who used to play cricket 30, 40 or 50 years ago come back and say what it is. We are hoping that going forward and with sponsors because the Antigua Commercial Bank has actually stamped on us that we must have a youth programme,” he added.
Charles, who recently appeared on the Good morning Jojo Sports Show said the body has been making a concerted effort to have teams engage more young cricketers within the community as it tries to shake the notion that the competition is one designed for those up in age.
“In the last four years or so the average Parish League player is about 22 [years old] now and you would still have people like myself, if I can, and we happen to have an injury or we fall short [in numbers] but we have been trying to get the youngsters from all about and not just from Clare Hall but in the St Georges community to come and play cricket in Mahico and the average age is about 22 so Parish League is no longer old man cricket like what some people may want to say,” he said.
The 2020 Parish League season was halted in March following a directive from the country’s sports ministry after the Antigua had recorded a first case of the coronavirus. Although the body has not issued an official communique, Charles hinted that the Parish League will be officially cancelled in the coming days.