By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
The 2014 BVI Cricket Association Digicel Twenty20 Cricket Tournament opens on Sunday with two matches at the Greenland Recreation Grounds.
The 10-weeks tournament that runs through May 24, will feature two games every Sunday. The first match starts at 10 a.m. with RTW vs Grenada followed by Seventh Day Adventist facing the Wolues at 2 p.m. The entry fee is $3 per person.
Defending champions Vincy—who ended the Cavaliers four year reign in a thrilling final last year—are among nine teams contesting the league.
“We are looking for an exciting tournament,” BVICA President Shan Mohamed “We have decided to format the game a little bit differently. We’ll have a division two like cricket round which will evolve into a group one round robin tournament with the top two teams competing against each other,” explained Mohamed who was recently elected for another term. “We’re also particularly pleased to this year, have two new entrants into the tournament, Road Town Wholesale and Seventh Day Adventist. In my view, this shows that Cricket is on the rise in the Virgin Islands.”
The BVICA head says he wants the public to come out to Greenland to support the Digicel Twenty20 Tournament that will run close to three months. He said that without the members of the public, the game will not grow or develop as fast as they would like. “It’s important that we provide value for money in terms of the sponsorship and we undertake to organize a well run, managed and efficiently run tournament for 2014,” Mohamed stated.
Building on last year’s event, Mohamed said they are hoping that the level of cricket has improved and they are hoping to see the emergence of new players, adding that they are hoping to grow the game in terms of its fan base to get more support.
“One of the things the association is hoping for is to demonstrate to the people and the government of the Virgin Islands that there is a genuine interest in cricket, so that we can continue to receive the support necessary both from a private and public partnership with the government,” he explained. “The challenge we face for example is having a larger ground. I’m hoping that if we can demonstrate that there is an interest that we can convince the powers that be that there is a home for cricket in the Virgin Islands, and that we can find a ground that can host games, either at the West Indies level or regional level. We are hoping to generate the level of interest to ensure that the future of cricket is secured in the Virgin Islands.”
Kevin Smith, Digicel’s Commercial and Operations director said his company’s aim is to see the sport blossom and develop in the BVI as Digicel is a regional cricket sponsor.
“We believe there’s a lot of appeal for cricket as a sport and we endeavor to ensure that we provide full support and make sure that the youths of the BVI get an opportunity to develop their passion and skills for cricket,” he said. “We hope that at some point we can see the next BVIslander participating in regional cricket.”
Mohamed said the BVICA is pleased that Digicel is again partnering with the association to ensure that cricket which has a long history in the territory is continues to be played. “We are very grateful to Digicel for their support over the years which also helps us to prepare the future stars of the sport,” he said. “We also hope to build on the success of past tournaments.”