Under-13 tourney a stepping stone for youngsters
The Barbados Cricket Supplies Under-13 tournament, which was formerly played under the banner of Inspire Sports, is an annual competition for junior cricketers and is usually played at the beginning of the year. This year’s tournament involves 16 teams and moves into the quarter-final stage next Sunday. In this week’s Community Corner, chairman of the tournament committee, Adrian Donovan, speaks to SUNSPORT’S Haydn Gill.
GILL: When was the tournament started and what prompted its establishment?
DONOVAN: This is the eighth year of the competition. It all started after I received a number of phone calls from frustrated club officials who told me that they wanted a club age-group competition but did not get any response from the cricketing authorities of the day.
In addition, this tournament is a third part of a developmental programme which starts at the Herman Griffith Primary Schools’ competition, the National Sports Council (NSC) developmental programme and then the club competition, with a view of selecting a Barbados national under-13 team to take part in the St Kitts regional Under-13 Festival and by extension a reciprocal understanding between the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board of Control and the NSC, which saw the two teams playing annually for the Malcolm Marshall and Inshan Ali trophies. Over the years, that Barbados team won 13 out of 14 regional tournaments.
GILL: Has the tournament achieved the goals and objectives it set out to attain?
DONOVAN: Very much so. It is run by representatives of the participating clubs along with Kevin Watson, Elvis Howard and myself. We start our planning as early as October. The successes of players like Kraigg Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Carlos Brathwaite, Anthony Alleyne, Shai Hope, Shane Dowrich and Shamar Springer, just to name a few, are a testament of the success of this programme.
GILL: How has the tournament grown since its early days?
DONOVAN: It is an invitational tournament. Teams apply and there are interviews. We try to avoid clubs who have no structure and are only run by one or two people. We always have requests for new teams but we have to keep the numbers to a certain limit as we are competing with BFA [Barbados Footbal Association] football, masters football and masters cricket for venues. We always start in early January.
GILL: The tournament has a mix of traditional clubs and other entities with junior programmes. How did you come up with this mix?
DONOVAN: When we started, we offered opportunities for all the parishes to have a representative team, whether a club or community group. In addition, we thought it would be an avenue for boys who did not make their respective school teams to have a chance to represent their community or club on weekends.
GILL: What are some of the challenges in putting on a tournament of this nature?
DONOVAN: On occasions, we have to deal with some characters with strong egos and you have to keep reminding them that the tournament is for the children. There are areas we need assistance, namely with incentives.
GILL: How have sponsors helped with the tournament?
DONOVAN: We were fortunate to have John McGuire of Inspire Sports at the start with us. He has handed over to Leslie Reifer of Barbados Cricket Supplies who has really brought some fresh ideas to the competition.
Without sponsors, it would have been impossible to have this competition. The tournament is run by a group of volunteers who love to work with young people. I am very happy to be associated with these individuals who give up their time to come and instil discipline and knowledge of the game.
GILL: Where would you like to see the tournament going in the future?
DONOVAN: We really can’t expand it any further because of the competition for venues. This may be good to some extent because we want quality and not quantity. Sponsorship for those community groups who are dependent on parents and club officials to foot the bill on match days is an area we can look at. I would like to see all the teams get sponsors. Another idea is that an established club could adopt one of the groups and assist them in areas of mentorship and equipment.