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Oval will be ready

Justin Marville

Oval will be ready

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KENSINGTON OVAL  will be ready for the CLOBI Cup.
And more importantly, for Wednesday’s state funeral. Chief executive officer of Kensington Oval Management Inc, Henry Inniss, has given the assurance that all systems are go for this weekend’s masters cricket festival despite the destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Tomas.
According to Inniss, the Category 1 system caused just minor damage to the historic Oval, with some partitions in the President’s suite being destroyed while the Barbados Cricket Association’s office was affected by water damage.
“Although they were pinned down, the covers were lifted off the pitch but there was no significant damage to  the pitch or the outfield,” said Henry in a telephone interview.
“I know for certain that the outfield is going to be all right, and the only problems might be some possible discolouration due to the tent for the state funeral.”
And Inniss further guaranteed that Wednesday’s state funeral for Prime Minister David Thompson should also come off without a hitch as the Oval survived the high winds and torrential downpours for the most part.
“From what I have seen there’s no damage that would compromise either event,” Inniss affirmed.
Already postponed following Thompson’s death, the second instalment of the masters festival was experiencing some logistical problems concerning flight arrangements.
But CLOBI project manager Adrian Griffith noted that tournament sponsor Virgin Atlantic has been understanding during the situation and gave assurances this postponement would only have a minor effect on the tournament’s standing.
“For a lot of them [players], it’s [the CLOBI Cup] at the top of their sporting calendar, and that’s why they have been very accommodating regarding the changes we’ve been forced to make,” said Griffith in a prior interview with NATIONSPORT.
“What we have realised in only two years is how important the tournament has already become.”
The rescheduling has even allowed for some of the region’s former greats – including Courtney Walsh – to attend Thompson’s funeral as several of the one-time West Indies players had personally met the’ Prime Minister.
The tournament is scheduled to bowl off this Friday and Saturday, with Sunday providing a break in the action before play resumes on Monday and Tuesday.However, Inniss revealed that plans are in the works for the festival to be played on four successive days, taking out Sunday’s rest day.
“Right now we are going with the  5th, 6th, 8th and 9th as the official dates but we are waiting to see if there is any further update,”  Inniss added.
Hosts West Indies are set to face last year’s champs England, Sri Lanka and newcomers India – who replaced South Africa – in the four-team tournament where US$100 000 is on the line.