Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, the visionary behind Combined Campuses and Colleges, says the team’s success in the Regional Super50 has confirmed the programme as the “heartland of the West Indies cricket academy.”
CCC, known in the domestic 50-overs tournament as the Marooners, brushed aside multiple-time champions Guyana Jaguars by six wickets in last Sunday’s final, to lift the title for the first time.
“Our students have inspired the cricket world of the Caribbean and beyond, in both the execution of their victory and in the explicit display of high sporting values and principles,” said Sir Hilary, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies.
“At the outset, I asked of them to recognize they will be playing for a purpose and cause much bigger than themselves or their university – the resurrection of West Indies cricket performance culture.
“They gave me an assurance of agreement and did not depart from their commitment. The evidence is now clear; they constitute the heartland of the West Indies cricket academy.”
The West Indies High Performance Centre, which was based at UWI Cave Hill served as the region’s cricket academy for seven years before it ceased operations last year.
Later that year, however, UWI launched their own HPC at the Cave Hill Campus, with Sir Hilary touting the need for players to be placed in “a learning environment, surrounded by books, professors [and] technical experts.”
In this year’s Super50, Marooners comprised largely inexperienced players but were led by inspirational West Indies T20 skipper, Carlos Brathwaite.
They topped Group A staged in Barbados with impressive wins over the hosts and Jamaica Scorpions, before stunning pre-tournament favourites Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in the semi-finals.
“I extend congratulations to captain Brathwaite and his brilliant boys, as well as the magnificent management and coaching team,” said Sir Hilary.
“The University of the West Indies … declared the CCC team heroes of our community and the region we serve. Thank you for inspiring us all.”
Marooners’ achievement was celebrated with an event at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination at UWI Cave Hill on Monday, which was dubbed “A Conversation with the Victorious CCC Marooners”, and attended by players, family, friends UWI staff and students.
Sir Hilary was unable to attend but joined live via video stream from Jamaica, along with Principal of UWI Cave Hill, Professor Eudine Barriteau and Dean of the Faculty of Sport, Dr Akshai Mansingh.
Head coach Floyd Reifer, currently in India with the West Indies one-day side and Brathwaite, who left on Monday to join the T20 squad in India, both sent video messages.
Players present also spoke about the experience of playing for CCC while underscoring the importance of the programme to the region.
Amanda Reifer, head of the Cave Hill Academy of Sport in UWI Faculty of Sport, said that with their Regional Super50 success, Marooners had made a strong case to be re-included in the Regional four-day championship.
“With this victory, CCC has demonstrated its relevance and purpose and should be invited by CWI to once again participate in the regional four-day competition,” she contended.
“CCC and the UWI HPC clearly provide an additional talent pool for West Indies selectors to choose.”
Marooners were chopped from the first class tournament in 2014 after it was professionalised by Cricket West Indies.
In their last campaign, they finished fifth in the seven-team championship, above the Leeward Islands and Guyana.
That year, the squad featured the likes of Chadwick Walton, Kesrick Williams, Raymon Reifer and Jomel Warrican, all of whom have since gone on to play for West Indies.