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Fitness, teamwork and discipline. These were a few of the words used by coach Glen Dwarika to describe his national under-15 team which won the West Indies Cricket Board Regional tournament in Jamaica last Friday for a record seventh time.
Chasing a challenging 165 to win the match against Jamaica in the final round to clinch the title, the young T&T team rose to the occasion to win by seven wickets.
Opening batsman Keagan Simmons, who finished the tournament as T&T’s leading run-scorer (250), scored an unbeaten 96 to lead the team to victory. T&T needed to defeat Jamaica, as the Windward Islands won their match earlier in the day to momentarily go to the top of the standings.
Both T&T and the Windward Islands ended the round robin competition with four wins, but T&T’s superior bowling record made the difference at the end.
Bonus points were awarded for every wicket taken by a fast or medium pace bowler.
T&T’s fast and medium pacers grabbed 49 wickets in the tournament, while the Windwards could only muster 22. Fast bowler Joel Sutherland, who played with an injury in the tournament, finished with 20 wickets. His best figures came in round four against Guyana, when he took 6/23. Dwarika gave credit to trainer Gerald Garcia who gave the players the necessary treatment to play through their injuries.
Dwarika said fielding was one of the reasons T&T won the tournament. “We were the best fielding team in the tournament,” he stated.
Simmons walked away with the Best Fielder award at the closing ceremony for his eight catches and two run outs in the competition.
Dwarika also spoke about the importance of teamwork in the competition and the importance of discipline in the camp. “We kept the boys focused, they went to bed at specific times.”
T&T played five two-day matches in a 15-day period and Dwarika said fitness was also the key to success. “The schedule was tense before the tournament, we were fitter.”
The team only got one day off in between some of the matches.
Although T&T won the title, Dwarika felt the batting was weak on some occasions.
“The guys will grow, they need to be more committed.” Dwarika said on the batting at times in the competition. In round two against Barbados, T&T only needed 87 to win the match and they were bundled out for 64.
Dwarika and Manager Anthony Ramjit tried to encourage the team after the devastating loss.
Dwarika told them “It is not over, we still have three games.”
The young red force listened to the words from their coach and bounced back like champions to win their last three matches of the tournament to clinch the title that has eluded them since 2010.