by Sachin Clarke
Spectators sat patiently as the Barbados Tridents got off to a shaky start against the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots at Kensington Oval Wednesday. Their hopes for a turn-around of the ‘home’ team’s fortunes pinned on a masterful display of batting from South African and World number 1 cricketer A.B. De Villiers. He constructed an outstanding innings, scoring 82 runs from 54 balls.
Fans had a lot to say about the actual game and the regional CPL 20/20 tournament on the whole when Barbados TODAY took to the stands to get the views of patrons as well as the venue staff.
The crowd of spectators comprised locals and many tourists. Some visiting English ladies were obviously having a blast. They said they had come just to support the Tridents team. The Party Stand was full of life as usual, with spectators coming through in their numbers and enjoying affordable drink specials all night.
Cricket at Kensington always attracts many colourful characters and this match was not an exception. The highlight of the Party Stand was the “Kisses Man”, portrayed by Hopey the Clown, who was dressed in a red body suit, a red and polka dot shorts and surrounded by a booth marked “kisses only 25 cents”. When asked what was the idea, Hopey simply replied, “I come to get
Music in the Party Stand came from all directions — from the steel pan section to the Haynesville-based rhythm section. Patrons were also treated to music during the innings break by popular radio personalities Jon Doe and Tammy as well as a brief cameo by popular Soca duo, Lead Pipe and Saddis.
A local supporter in the Party Stand described the cricket as exciting.
“I’m a Trident all the way, so it’s very good to be here in the Party Stand and the vibe is good.”
Another fan described the cricket as fantastic.
“I see nuff 6’s and nuff 4’s and very few wickets so it’s going good.”
One spectator made it very clear that he knew very little about cricket but was there strictly for the party.
“The party is like a party. It’s a genuine fete,” he said.
Vendors were also part of the action. One bar station operator, when asked how sales were going, replied: “Today [Wednesday] is basically a slow day because everyone is bringing in their own personal drinks but it’s coming along nicely.”
When asked to talk about the drink specials, one vendor gave us a rundown of the prices. “Heineken are priced very nice at 1 for $5, 3 for $12 and 5 for $20 and are going at special all series.”
Food vendors were not too happy. According to them, sales were very poor.
“Sales are very dead, and I hope they would pick up later. I hope the rain would come that we would get the sales ‘cause when the rain falls, that is when the sales come in Monday night,” one vendor remarked.
There was a lot of controversy surrounding the team selection and setup of the Barbados Tridents but according to fans, they did not see the team as a problem. One spectator in the Greenidge and Haynes stand said, “It is franchise cricket, so players are out there to be selected and if the construct of the team determines that players from any country [can be selected], that’s
what it is.”
When asked if he thought the Tridents line-up couldn’t have one or two more Bajans in the Starting 11, the spectator replied: “Other franchises do have one or two more Bajans in their starting 11.”
Many other spectators also emphasized the point that it is franchise cricket and anything is possible with team selection, so the team does not necessarily have to be made up of Barbadian players. The aim of the draft is to pick the best players available.
When asked if there was any particular player they would like to see, most fans called for the inclusion of Shamar Springer, who was one of the West Indies Under-19 star players at the recently concluded Under-19 World Cup.
“I would like to see Shamar Springer in the team. We got to give the youngsters a chance.”
Despite the controversy, some fans expressed the view that the team had what it takes to win the competition again.
“My one problem with the Tridents is not enough Bajans but, on the whole, they play really good cricket so I think they got a chance to win the tournament again this year.”
As the Tridents went on to win the match, the Kensington Oval crowd was buzzing with excitement as they watched the “local” team put on a fine bowling performance, though the game was nearly taken from their grasp by Barbados cricketer and former Tridents player Johnathan Carter, through a classy batting performance, scoring 46 runs from 38 balls.
Carter was in the Tridents squad for the 2015 edition of the CPL before being picked up in the 2016 draft by the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots. Carter is one of many Barbadian players spread throughout the CPL and not representing the Tridents.