Director of Cricket at the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Steven Leslie is pleased that the 2019 BCA/Sagicor General Championship has reached the final stage. Last year, the tournament was abandoned following a protest and appeals over the result of a quarterfinal match between Crane Resort St Catherine and Bayview Hospital YMPC which was played at the Three Ws Oval in June.
In January this year, the BCA in a letter to the clubs and schools informed them that the competition would be ended without completion. This year, the tournament progressed smoothly without interruption and last weekend Empire and Carlton defeated the UWI and YMPC respectively in two thrilling matches to advance to the final.
Empire defeated the UWI off the last ball in their semifinal match which was full of drama and excitement at Bank Hall, while Carlton pipped YMPC by one wicket in the other match at Beckles Road.
“We are very pleased with the manner the tournament was played this year. It progressed very smoothly without controversy. The final between Empire and Carlton is a recipe for a fascinating encounter between the two teams that have played the best Twenty20 cricket in the tournament coming together to challenge for T20 supremacy on the island. I am anticipating a keenly contested final,” Leslie toldBarbados TODAY.
The final was scheduled to be played at Windward Cricket Ground, Lucas Street, St Philip this coming Sunday (May 12), but has been re-scheduled for Kensington Oval on May 19.
“The opportunity to utilize Kensington Oval for the final has become available, so we have chosen to use the Mecca for the final which will be held on Sunday, May 19. It will start at 2 p.m. and the reserve day is Sunday, May 26,” he said.
On the subject of the restoration work on the field at Kensington Oval, Leslie said the BCA was working assiduously to ensure that the pitch and outfield remained up to international standards.
“Our next engagement at the Kensington Oval will be later in the year when the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) comes to the venue. Currently our consultant, former Barbados and West Indies fast bowler Richard “Prof” Edwards, head groundsman Hendy Davis in conjunction with Winston Reid and the rest of the ground staff, are working strategically to ensure that we have the venue up to high international standards by the time the CPL gets here,” the director said.
In the past few years, the state of the outfield at the premier cricket ground in the island has always been a contentious issue between the BCA and Kensington Oval Inc., the state-created entity responsible for maintaining the venue. But according to Leslie there was no major damage to the outfield after the recent Buju Banton show.
“The information provided to us indicates that there has not been any major damage on the outfield following the recent reggae show. It appears everything would be functional for the cricket activities that will be scheduled prior to CPL 2019. We are hoping to have positive feedback in order to host a couple of matches very shortly which will soon be made known to the general public. At the moment we are satisfied that no major damage was done to the pitch or the outfield during the recent reggae show,” Leslie stressed.
He also confirmed that former Barbados captain Ryan Hinds had joined the coaching staff of the BCA. The left-handed all-rounder who recently became a member of the senior national selection panel was previously employed in a similar capacity with the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.
“Ryan is now a member of our coaching staff. He began his assignment with us at the beginning of this month. We are hoping to utilize not only his vast experience as a cricketer but his certification also. We have given him the opportunity to assist with the development of cricket in the island. Ryan will be part of a team that is comprised of Dexter Toppin, Emmerson Trotman, Corey Collymore and Vasbert Drakes,” Leslie said.