The West Indies senior team might be struggling on the international scene at the moment. But more and more opportunities are constantly being created for the development of young cricketers on the domestic front.
Another of these should soon be up and running as Barbados Cricket Supplies is planning to add an Under-17 competition to the annual Under-13 Cricket Tournament it has been sponsoring for the past two years.
“We are planning to host a Boys Under-17 tournament in 2017 involving all of the clubs. We intend to have two age groups rather than just one.
“There is a void in age-group tournaments in Barbados. After under 13 there is no club cricket competitions for these boys, so they just play for their schools and various teams, but they do not play for their home clubs,” Leslie Reifer Jr., managing director of Barbados Cricket Supplies told Barbados TODAY.
Reifer said he wanted each club in Barbados to have a junior team where they could compete against each other and showcase the best young cricketers in the island.
“From a logistics point of view I can’t really say if the Under-17 tournament and the Under 13 competition would be played simultaneously. Or if they will be taking place at completely different times.
“What I can say is that we are looking to move forward in that direction. I realised that there is a void in Under-17 cricket at the club level, we definitely want to get something in place but the logistics still have to be worked out,” he explained.
Reifer said he was pleased with the outcome of this year’s Under 13 tournament which concluded last weekend, and believes he has succeeded in meeting his aims and objectives in sponsoring the competition.
“My aims and objectives of sponsoring the tournament was to provide a platform for boys thirteen and under to play cricket at a very competitive level among their peers and schoolmates.
“This year we took the tournament to a level where all of the 225 boys who took part in the tournament were fully uniformed which is a big step. Previously the boys played in different types of shirts but this year each player was fully outfitted,” Reifer said.
An innovation in the tournament this year was the use of the pink and red ball.
“We used pink and red balls to introduce the boys to a different type of cricket. In international cricket, the pink ball is utilized in day and night games. In these matches several players are very apprehensive about the pink ball because they have not played with it before. My objective was to expose the boys to the pink ball from an early age,” said Reifer.
He disclosed that organizing a tournament such as the Under-13 competition was a tough task and expressed his thanks to all the companies who supported the tournament.
He lauded the Barbados Cricket Association for the vital assistance it gave to the tournament this year.
“The Barbados Cricket Association paid all of the fees of the umpires who took part in this year’s tournament. This made it a lot more easier for the clubs,” Reifer said.
Though the 2017 competition has just ended, Reifer has already started to plan for next year’s tournament.
“For the first time the Under 13 competition will be a fully one-day oriented tournament. The teams will be provided with full colour clothing and we will be utilizing white cricket balls along with the possibility of a twenty-five yard circle, full International rules, these boys are quite sharp. They are watching the game on television, we believe that they can take their cricket to another level by doing what is being practised at the highest level,” Reifer said.
He pledged to continue to sponsor the tournament.
“This is like my little baby. I love cricket but junior cricket is very special to me. It is a pleasure to be involved in the game at this level. Cricket has been very good to me.
“It has provided me with a lot of opportunities. I want to provide the opportunity for a few of our boys to move forward with their lives through cricket,” the International Cricket Council umpire said.