By Neto Baptiste
The time for five young cricketers currently on an exchange programme in England has been extended by three months.
Essan Warner, currently with the Colston Bassett Cricket Club in Nottingham, Demari Benta with the Bingham Cricket Club, Elroy Francis Jr at the Grantham Cricket Club, Uri Smith at the Harrow St Mary Cricket Club in London, and Tonya Martin at Crouch End Cricket Club in London, left Antigua in April for England where they were scheduled to spend three months.
According to sources close to the Ministry of Sports, the stint which is part of an exchange programme piloted by the East Midlands Lord’s Taverners in Nottinghamshire, will run until September. Reports are that Antigua’s High Commissioner in the UK, H.E. Karen-Mae Hill, will cover the charges associated with the change in airline tickets and insurance.
The players have, so far, performed well in England with Warner hitting a double century at 216 not out in his team’s 99 runs victory in the Newark Club Alliance League on Sunday. Warner has scored a total of 974 runs in 16 matches so far.
Benta, who has been in fine nick, has scored five centuries to date, batting not out for all five. The Pigotts Crushers player has scored 143, 110, 104, 108 and 122, amassing a total of 869 runs in over 16 matches so far in England.
Smith has also gotten in on the action, scoring 107 in May while Martin, the lone female on the programme has just been selected to play in an all stars match at the MCC as the top player from her team.
Meanwhile, a planned tour of England by an under-17 combined schools team this summer has been postponed due to Covid-19 related costs. The team was scheduled to play a total of nine matches in England.