GEORGETOWN, Guyana – History will be created, when all six territorial boards of the West Indies Cricket Board will be represented for the first time ever in the Regional Women’s Tournament which opens Thursday.
For the first time ever, Leeward Islands will field a squad in a regional women’s tournament and Windward Islands will play as a single unit alongside defending champions Barbados, five-time winners Jamaica, multi-time champions Trinidad & Tobago and hosts Guyana.
This will be the second change to the format for the Regional Women’s Tournament in as many seasons, having moved from an eight-team league with no Leewards and the four nations that form the Windwards playing as individual teams last year when the Windwards played in two groups, North and South, along with the Barbadians, Jamaicans, T&T and Guyanese.
“We want to welcome Leewards Women into the fold and are looking forward to them playing a valuable role in the expansion of the women’s game in the region,” said Josina Luke, WICB project officer for women’s cricket.
“We have spent the last year working with the Leewards in the development of this squad, following a decision by our directors to have them involved this year, so this is another step towards strengthening the base of the women’s game in the region and expanding our talent pool.
“The banding together of the talents of the Windwards Women helps us to streamline our tournaments and bring greater competitiveness to the overall women’s game, as the ultimate aim is to create a stronger West Indies Women’s team with a view to winning more global titles.”
Leewards will be led by Antiguan pacer Shawnisha Hector and their squad includes Saneldo Willett, daughter of former West Indies left-arm-spinner Elquemedo Willett, whose sons Tonito and Akito have also played at the regional level.
Windwards will be captained by West Indies Women’s leg-spinner Afy Fletcher and her deputy is opener Juliana Nero, who has played for the Windies Women, and heads a list of regulars like Yasmine St. Ange, Akeira Peters and Roylin Cooper that form the core of the squad.
The Windwards squad also includes 15-year-olds Holly Charles and Qiana Joseph. They were involved in a WICB Emerging Women’s Players camp a few weeks ago in Barbados, and helped the Windwards Under-19 girls’ team reach the final of their regional age group tournament, where they lost to hosts Trinidad & Tobago.
This year, the Tournament will comprise Super50, which takes centre stage over the next 10 days, and Twenty20 competitions against the backdrop of strong performances from the West Indies Women’s team over the past year in both formats, culminating in the lifting of the ICC Women’s World T20 title earlier this year in India.
“We want to broaden the pool of players for the West Indies Women’s team, bearing in mind two important things,” said Luke.
“First, we are well placed for automatic qualification for the ICC Women’s (50 overs) World Cup next year in England and want to remain on that trajectory with important series in the ICC Women’s Championship later this year against England at home and India on the road.
“Also, we want to fortify our squad in the T20 format, so we can continue to put forward the kind of performances that enhance our position as World champions.”
In the opening round of the Super50, Barbados, again led by West Indies Women’s leg-spinning all-rounder Shaquana Quintyne, open their title defence against sporting arch-rivals Trinidad & Tobago, under the leadership of former West Indies Women’s captain Merissa Aguilleira, at Enmore.
Leewards will have a rough baptism against Jamaica, led by West Indies Women’s World T20-winning captain and world-rated all-rounder Stafanie Taylor, at Everest, and Windwards meet Guyana, captained by Windies Women’s fast-medium bowler Tremayne Smartt, at Enterprise.Each of the teams will play the other once in a round-robin competition, featuring five rounds of 50 overs-a-side matches – with the two teams accumulating the most points qualifying for the final to determine the winner on Sunday, July 17, at Everest.
The T20 tournament follows four days later with three matches being contested each match-day at the Guyana National Stadium before a final round of play-offs for positions one to six on Monday, July 25.
Barbados: Shaquana Quintyne (captain), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shamilia Connell, Deandra Dottin, Keila Elliott, Allison Gordon, Reshelle Griffith, Malissa Howard, Kycia Knight, Hayley Matthews, Shakera Selman, Charlene Taitt, , Shanna Thompson, Tiffany Thorpe
Guyana: Tremayne Smartt (captain), Shemaine Campbelle, Shabika Gajnabi, Erva Giddings, Melanie Henry, Mandy Mangru, Plaffiana Millington, Subrina Munroe, Kaysia Shultz, Heema Singh, Latoya Smith, Akaze Thompson, Lashuna Toussaint, Kavita Yadram
Jamaica: Stafanie Taylor (captain), Alecia Bookal, Shanel Daley, Keneshia Ferron, Chinelle Henry, Corrine, Howell, Natasha McLean, Jodian Morgan, Chedean Nation, Roshana Outar, Tameka Sanford, Jerona Walcott, Vanessa Watts, Rashada Williams
Leeward Islands: Shawnisha Hector (captain), Jasmine Clarke, Melicia Clarke, Davanna Claxton, Kimberly Dookhan, Amanda Edwards, Sherma Jackson, Rozel Liburd, Terez Parker, Grace Persaud, Kerisha Powell, Jenisen Richards, Eldora Sylvester, Saneldo Willett
Trinidad & Tobago: Merissa Aguilleira (captain), Kirbyina Alexander, Reniece Boyce, Britney Cooper, Rosalie Dolabaille, Stacy Ann King, Lee Ann Kirby, Shenelle Lord, Anisa Mohammed, Selene O’Neil, Kamara Ragoobar, Karishma Ramharack, Amanda Samaroo, Rachael Vincent
Windward Islands: Afy Fletcher (captain), Stacy Ann Adams, Holly Charles, Roylyn Cooper, Nerissa Crafton, Krisani Irish, Qiana Joseph, Juliana Nero, Akeira Peters, Rosilia Registe, Yasmine St. Ange, Glendeen Turtin, Rackel Williams, Swayline Williams