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Going global


Philip Hackett

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The involvement of more British teams in the Garfield Sobers International School Cricket Tournament and a higher level of participation generally from schools outside the Caribbean region could be a reality as early as next year.
According to marketing executive in sports tourism department of the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA), Winston Carter, the process of scouting teams started months ago with Sir Garry’s visit to Britain, where he spent a lengthy period visiting schools and clubs promoting sports in Barbados generally and the tournament in particular.
“We have also been responding to a number of queries from South Africa, Australia and India, and we should be sending out invitations shortly,” Carter told MIDWEEK SPORT.
Sixteen teams competed in this year’s tournament, 12 of them from overseas. These included one from England and 11 from throughout the region.
Carter, who is also deputy chairman of the organizing committee, which is led by Morris Greenidge, said there was also a need to secure greater sponsorship to improve next year’s tournament.    
He is convinced that the tournament, which has been going for 26 years, is of tremendous benefit to Barbados and the local economy.
“We have seen in excess of 275 players, officials and friends coming from overseas for a three-week period, mostly staying at hotels, apartments and guest houses on the south coast. This translates into much needed foreign exchange into the economy, somewhere in the region of BDS$1.5 million,” said Carter.
Among the highlights of this year’s event was the live streaming of the semi-finals and the finals on the Internet. This is the first time this was attempted and was made possible primarily through the technical services of Merville Lynch Productions.
“The involvement of the West Indies Cricket Board and Merville Lynch Productions at this juncture sends a very positive message and augurs well for the future of the tournament,” Carter said.
The BTA official also lauded the support given by major sponsors Scotiabank, Digicel, BS&T, Arts and Sports Promotion Fund, T.D. Reinsurance and Banks Holdings. Other sponsors included Cave Shepherd, Insurance Corporation of Barbados, Esso, Chefette Ltd, KOMI, the National Sports Council and the BTA.
One particularly satisfying aspect was the response of the participating teams, especially those involved for the first time.
“They loved the tournament, were pleased with the organization and requested to be invited again,” said Carter, who noted that the participants were happy with the level of professionalism in staging the event.
The Masterclass, an event that facilitated the interaction of some of the young cricketers with local cricket legends, was one of the positives springing from the tournament.
“It was very successful and we plan to continue with it every year. We had done it twice before and have always found it to be very educational and useful for those selected to attend,” Carter said.
Local Under-19 champions Foundation emerged as champions, beating Combermere in the final.

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