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Lashley calls for girls’ cricket league

Justin Marville

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Even at the height of the success of West Indies women’s cricket, one man is predicting the impending demise of the local game.
West Indies Women’s Softball Festival founder Hamilton Lashley believes women’s cricket in Barbados will die shortly if programmes are not formulated to introduce the game at the primary and secondary school levels.
Lashley made the point yesterday during the launch of this year’s festival while making a call for more sponsorship of the highly successful women’s tournament.
“We’re not developing our players from young, women’s cricket will eventually die if we do not put in place right now a programme in the primary schools, secondary schools and tertiary schools because we will start losing players at that age too,” argued Lashley.
“Just the other day on the news I saw that Trinidad have embarked on a primary schools’ girls’ cricket league so they’re developing their cricket from the primary, secondary and tertiary level.
“[And] it is almost amazing to see that although women’s cricket is dying in Barbados, we have been able to still have five or six players on the West Indies cricket team,” he added.
Lashley’s stance comes in spite of the recent upsurge in the women’s game, which has seen West Indies squad reach their first ever World Cup final earlier this year.
And Barbados has been pivotal to that success, with the rise of hard-hitting all-rounder Deandra Dottin, star leg spinner Shaquana Quintyne, pacer Shakera Selman and twin sisters Kycia and Kyshona Knight.
But Lashley believes a lot more young players could be falling by the wayside if they are not encouraged to play through the conception of school leagues.
He went on to add that his own tournament could also die from next year if the organizing committee doesn’t continue to get the necessary funding to market the festival globally.
“If the Barbados Tourism Authority and National Sports Council don’t invest more into this tournament, then we are in grave danger of losing this tournament, particularly next year, as the other territories have come, seen the product and now they want to replicate this same product in their country,” he said.
“We need the necessary support, particularly in terms of marketing, from those relevant departments that are responsible for such because this tournament is responsible for the growth of the women’s game.
“But there are associations and persons in Barbados that believe limited funding should be given to tournaments that are staged in the community . . . . I believe that a regional tournament that is staged in the community should be given the same recognition as a regional tournament being staged at Kensington [Oval] or any other brand name venue,” he added.