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QPCC, Central Sports bowl off season today
The much awaited local cricket season will finally bowl off today with matches across the country.
Local cricket fans will have an array of matches to choose from as there will be Premiership, Championships, Reserve League and even zonal cricket on offer. The main attraction, however, will be the clash between defending champion team Queen’s Park and the up-and-coming Central Sports in the busy community of Felicity, at the Invaders Recreation ground, Chaguanas, 10 am.
The Parkites will be looking to extend their domination of the National League having swept both Premiership I and II competitions, with the first team copping the Dr Allen Sammy Trophy for being adjudged “Club of the Year.”
They were also convincing winners of the Premiership I 50-Overs competition, and a repeat of their “double” success will be on the players minds. Coach of Queen’s Park, David Furlonge, confirmed that his top players will be in action.
He said once again the squad will be led by opening batsman Justin Guillen, who was the team’s leading run-scorer last season, and together with the presence of several Red Force players the Port-of-Spain team will be very competitive in all departments. Among them are Yannick Cariah, Jeremy Solozano, Tion Webster, and Kharry Pierre.
Also expected to play a significant role in their bid to retain the title are Akeal Hosein, Kevon Cooper, Daron Cruickshank, and wicketkeeper Anthony Balgobin.
“I believe that we have the right balance of batsmen, all-rounders and bowlers so we are in a very good place having fine-tuned our preparation with several practice matches,” said Furlonge.
The top cricket coach said the only problem he foresees is the dilemma posed by the wealth of talent now available and confesses that picking a final eleven will be a very difficult.
Meanwhile, opponents Central Sports are busy preparing for the challenge ahead.
“We’re a young side, in terms of the age of the players this season but we will certainly be competitive and improve on our fourth-place finish in 2017,” said club president Richard Ramkissoon.
He said the team’s two practice matches against Monroe Road and Prisons Sports Club gave them a clear indication of the team’s strengths and weaknesses heading into the clash with the Parkites.
“We’re looking forward to a very productive 2018 season, having reached the final of the TTCB T-20 Festival, while bowing out of the UWI T20 after reaching the last four,” said Ramkissoon.
Once again Central Sports will be skippered by Kjorn Ottley and will have in their line-up last season’s First Team “Cricketer of the Year” Shazam Babwah.
Also expected to play a leading role in the club’s challenge for top honours will be Kamil Pooran, Kissoondath Magram, ICC Under-19 World Cup winner Jyd Goolie, Aaron Alfred, Al Small and lone overseas player, all-rounder Alex Antoine of St Lucia.
Joining the team for the first time is talented batsman Adrian Ali, the local government councillor for Monroe Road in the Chaguanas Borough Corporation.
New chairman of the National League Dudnath Ramkessoon, a former T&T team captain said interest in local cricket is high following the restructuring of the competition.
He expects that the clubs will produce more competitive cricket with more outright results expected over the two days, and also predicted that the objective of reducing costs will also be achieved.
Ramkessoon will be among the officials present for an opening ceremony for the 2018 season from 9.30 am today at the Invaders Ground in Felicity.
February 24 & 25
Central Sports vs Queen’s Park I, Invaders Gd, Felicity
Queen’s Park II vs Victoria, QP Oval, Port-of-Spain
FCB Clarke Road vs Alescon Comets, Wilson Road, Penal
PowerGen Sports vs Merryboys, Syne Village, Penal
Canefarm vs Aranguez, Crown Street Rec. Gd, Tacarigua
BFL vs EYM, Gilbert Park, Couva
Monroe Road vs Caldrac, Monroe Road, Cunupia
Orangefield vs Tableland, Orange Field, Carapichaima
Last Year’s Finish:
1 Queen’s Park I; 2 Merryboys; 3 PowerGen; 4 Central Sports
1 Queen’s Park II; 2 Orangefield; 3 Canefarm; 4 Caldrac
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