Stumps will not be in place at North Stars Cricket Ground when the 2018 Guardian Group Herman Griffith Primary Schools’ Cricket Competition bowls off tomorrow at various playing fields across the island.
National Sports Council cricket coach and tournament coordinator Sherwin Campbell said during a press conference held this morning at Guardian Group to launch the tournament now in its 38-year, that the decision was made not to use that ground following recent shootings in the area.
During the media briefing attended by West Indies T20 captain Carlos Brathwaite, West Indies B team player Jarion Hoyte and Combined Campuses and Colleges batsman Nicholas Kirton, Campbell said: “This year there will be no matches at North Stars due to a request by school officials. No one thinks it is good playing at North Star this time, but hopefully, in the distant future we will have games there going forward.”
A total of 47 teams divided into eight zones have registered to participate this year and defending champions Bayley’s Primary will look to chase their six titles overall while being led by captain Reynaldo Bourne.
Campbell said the NSC was seeking to grow the interest in women’s cricket and recommendations have been made to have two females play in each team. “I think it is important to promote women’s cricket and see them playing as well,” said Campbell who was the former coach of the senior West Indies women’s team.
Ellerton, George Lamming, Sharon and St Martin’s Mangrove will not return to competition this year and have made room for Workman’s Primary, St Luke’s Brighton, St Winifred’s and St Angela’s who have all re-emerged.
The batsman with the most runs will receive a bat specially made by Tridents 10 owned by West Indies T20 captain Carlos Brathwaite. The hard-hitting batsman forever a part of West Indies folklore for those four sixes in the final over of the T20 World Cup final against England is a former student of Milton Lynch Boys, and he encouraged the youngsters not to take the game for granted.
“My message to any young guy partaking in the tournament, don’t take it for granted. There are lessons to be learned both positive and negative. Take everything in stride, listen to your coaches and work hard,” Brathwaite said.
Barbados Cricket Association Chief Executive Officer Roland Toppin was in attendance and explained that the tournament named after former West Indies fast bowler Herman Clarence Griffith was the foundation upon which several distinguished Barbadian cricketers started their playing career. Therefore, he reassured that the BCA was committed to the annual competition as the governing body sought to develop the game at the junior level.
In his remarks, Toppin said that a few weeks ago the BCA conducted a few zonal meets for male and female cricketers under the age of 13 years old. Also, the CEO noted that BCA was in the process of rolling out a five-year plan which would benefit the players and improve the standard of the game.
“The next few years should see the presence of quality cricket coaches in most if not all primary schools. The presence of at least one teacher with cricket knowledge and interest in helping to manage and support a cricket programme in each primary school. Expansion of the number of schools participating in the Kiddies cricket programme, encouragement of primary schools to include at least two girls in this tournament,” Toppin said.
As Guardian Group focuses on its corporate responsibility, the promotion of a healthy lifestyle is on the company’s agenda in this year’s competition.
Lora Toppin, underwriting manager at Guardian Group, said: “I can assure you that Guardian Group and the National Sports Council have solidified this partnership based on our shared vision to see our youths strive as we invest in positive sporting activities so they can realize their full potential.” She also encouraged the players to compete fairly, have fun and make their schools proud.