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With the average age of players in the 40-plus bracket, the Barbados Cricket League (BCL) will be embarking on a two-pronged thrust to attract younger players and get more of them into the senior team next year. BCL president Glyne St Hill told SUNSPORT while there were “a few youngsters” in some of the teams, the majority of players were in the “40 or 40-plus” age range. As a result, the BCL will stage an out-of-season inter-zone competition towards the end of the year to try to unearth more talent and will also forge stronger links with some of the secondary schools. “We speak to some of the games masters to encourage the youngsters who are leaving to come our way. We also ask some of the teams in the villages if they have any youngsters who are playing cricket to encourage them to come to Blenheim,” St Hill said. “We will get the odd person coming, but what we will have to do at the end of this season if we want the BCL to move forward, is to get the information on the outstanding players in the competition, check their ages and try to have inter-zone competition. “That can help because some of the guys will go and play for the team that is in their area. Let’s say we had a Conrad Hunte Zone and we picked out people for teams in that zone. “There are some guys who are going to school who would want to play in it and that is an area that we can perhaps tap. The main focus is to try and form an alliance with some of the games masters of the schools.” St Hill said in the past the BCL had referrals from Combermere School, Grantley Adams Memorial and Alexandra School. Alma Parris School also has a team competing. This year, the BCL had a team in the Sir Garfield Sobers International Schools’ Cricket Competition, and St Hill said some of the players were schoolboys who were attached to domestic clubs or members of the Barbados Youth team who did not make the final cut. “They would play for their schools on Saturdays, but on Sundays, if there are knockouts going on and the villages they come from have a BCL team, they would play for the BCL team,” he explained. One of the major obstacles, according to St Hill, was that the older players do not make the schoolboys feel welcome when they do decide to play for the BCL. “They are not really welcomed as they should [be] by the fellows who are there. If you don’t come there and practise regularly for the three-day competition and we try to put these guys into the knockout, the fellows don’t really give them support and say they are not up to standard. “It is a bonding. That is a problem and we really didn’t pursue it much this year. We said we would try and get some of the schoolboys who were playing at Elite Division and Division One to get a couple of them to come, so we have to wait and see.” He said the schoolboys also tended to travel in groups, going where their friends were playing. “Schoolboys like to travel together, one fellow isn’t going to come,” St Hill pointed out. The BCL team has slipped to the Division One competition, and an injection of talented youth players could give them the push to get back to the Elite Division of the Barbados Cricket Association. They were seventh out of ten teams after the last round of matches. Meanwhile, St Hill said the BCL had abandoned plans of moving to a ground in Drax Hall, St George, after several problems experienced at the Blenheim, St Michael, ground were solved following discussion with officials at the National Sports Council. Among them were motorcyclists riding across the field during play, horses being left on the pasture, as well as smoking and gambling in the vicinity of the pavilion.