Exciting young talent like Che Simmons can move from the Under-13s to the Under-17 competition. (FILE)
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There will soon be a new division following on from the Barbados Cricket Supplies Under-13 Cricket Tournament.
Speaking to tournament director and sponsor Leslie Reifer yesterday, he revealed that an Under-17 tournament was in the plans to bowl off next month.
“We are looking to start another tournament for a different age group so that’s in the pipeline at the moment. That will be an extension from this tournament but it will be focused on the Under-17 age group,” he said.
Though he explained that he wasn’t yet sure who would be the title sponsor, he said him and his team would certainly be the push behind it.
Reifer told the SATURDAY SUN there was a drought in terms of the amount of cricket players were exposed to after they passed the Under-13 stage.
“After 13 these boys have nothing going on. It is an opportunity for guys to be able to continue representing a club or a specific team they identify with at least until the Under-17 level.
“I am hoping this can help clubs to retain players within their youth system to help them transfer these youth players into the senior level of cricket. Wanderers for example have an Under-13 team in the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Under-13 tournament and they will be competing in the Under-17 competition,” explained Reifer.
He pointed out that the tournament was expected to help in building a bridge for the smooth transition into senior cricket at such a critical age when they tended to sometimes lose interest in playing the game.
“This is just an addition to the cricket calendar so we can provide a platform for boys of a different age groups when the weekends come to enjoy the game and keep themselves out of trouble. I think that is very important”.
The tournament is expected to be the 20/20 format with two games played at a venue and though still in the planning stages is expected to have about eight to ten teams.
“I have gone the route of 20/20 because it is the most exciting format of the game. These boys are going through a critical stage in their lives where a lot of them are between the ages of 15/16 doing SBAs for CXCs and so on.
“I thought it was important to have them playing cricket but not take up the entire day, they can enjoy themselves with their peers and go home and do what they have to do. Sometimes it’s little difficult to to play cricket and do school work”.
The Under-13 version of the game is expected to once again have 15 teams this year. Though Police Juniors and Welchman Hall Juniors will not be returning for this year’s tournament they will welcome newcomers Pickwick Griffins and Cric-Mechanics.
However, he revealed that the focus of the tournament had shifted in a way that further encourages the development of young players.
“What I found over the years is that a lot of youngsters commit themselves on Sundays and sometimes there’s only 11 and you want the strongest players,
“Not everybody gets an equal chance to participate. This year we have allowed the teams to nominate 13 players per side with 11 batting and 11 fielding as normal. It’s a 35 overs game. Normally there is a maximum of five overs but in this tournament it has been changed to five so a minimum of seven boys out of the 13 nominated can an opportunity to at least get a bowling.”
He said he wanted to thank sponsors BCA and Wibisco for their contributions, as well as the cricketers who work alongside the tournament as ambassadors. (RG)