Fewer teams in tourney
?THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN and a clash between tournament and school vacation dates have had a hand in reducing the number of teams coming for this year’s 28th annual Sir Garfield Sobers International Schools Cricket Tournament.
However, the “players” behind the prestigious competition have stressed that the tournament this year will be one of quality and they have managed to attract two new English school teams – Wisbech School and St Ambrose – and one from Canada. It is the first time in ten years a Canadian team is participating.
Sir Garfield Sobers, who is patron of the event and who recently returned from England where he was drumming up support for the tournament, noted he wanted to see the competition return to the days when there were as many as 24 teams vying for top honours.
“I think one of the reasons we don’t have a lot more teams at the present moment is the financial [downturn] throughout the world and a lot of teams can’t afford it,” Sir Garry said.
Another reason why the tournament did not attract teams from far flung places like South Africa and Australia was the clash between tournament dates and vacation dates in those countries, he said.
“Australia and South Africa are quite willing to send teams to Barbados but their vacation is different to the ones in England and it makes it very difficult for them,” Sir Garry revealed.
?Tournament director Morris Greenidge revealed that there were no new regional teams in this year’s competition but combined schools teams from Antigua and Dominica were back and there would be at least three school teams from Trinidad and Tobago. Guyana was only sending one team.
However, Greenidge said that high airfares had prevented St Kitts from sending a team.
This year’s competition is being staged at a cost of more than $250 000, with 16 teams scheduled to take part. Eleven of those teams are coming from overseas countries Trinidad and Tobago, England, Canada, Antigua, Guyana and Dominica.
Last year’s winners, Powergen Penal Sports Club of Trinidad and Tobago, are back to defend their title.