Jamaica international Kemar Roofe insists he is proud of finally making a long-awaited debut for the national team, despite a lopsided result against Panama.

The 28-year-old striker was among a number of players based in European leagues brought in to bolster the Reggae Boyz as the team looks to return to the FIFA World Cup for the first time in over two decades.

It was hardly the ideal scenario, however, as the team lost 3-0 at home to Panama.  The international window consisted of three games but due to United Kingdom restrictions on travel to countries on its red list, Roofe could only take part in the home fixture against Panama.  Both Mexico and Costa Rica where the team also had matches are on the UK’s red list.  Travel to any of these countries would have required a 10-day quarantine upon return to the United Kingdom for the players, with several leagues controversially opting not to release players for the fixtures.

Setbacks aside, however, Roofe insists his first cap was a proud moment for both himself and his relatives.

“It was a proud moment for myself and my family to represent my dad’s country of birth,” Roofe told the Daily Record.

“It’s a good experience to play international football. It’s a different style of football to the domestic game. It’s an enjoyable experience, even though we lost,” he added.

“We only had a few days to get to know each other and play the game. The two other games were in the red zone so we couldn’t go to those games.”

Following an opening-round loss to Mexico and loss to Panama, the team got on the board with a 1-1 draw away to Costa Rica. 

 Cricket West Indies chief of selectors Roger Harper is hopeful the region will see the best of fast bowler Oshane Thomas following his selection to the T20 World Cup squad.

The 24-year-old pace bowler was once considered one of the hottest prospects in regional cricket after bursting on the scene with fiery spells for Caribbean Premier League (CPL) team Jamaica Tallawahs during the 2016 season.

However, despite going on to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the last two seasons and 17 T20 international matches for the West Indies, Thomas is yet to quite hit the heights his talent promised early on.

In-between indifferent spells of forms and fitness issues, the player has taken 19 wickets for the team.  Thomas has, however, looked lively in the CPL this season taking 4 wickets in six games.  The player’s rejuvenated look has been enough to attract the attention of the selectors and Harper hopes the decision pays rich dividends come next month.

“Oshane brings that sort of x-factor to the team, we know when Oshane is at his best he is a real force,” Harper told members of the media on Thursday.

“We haven’t seen him at his best for a while, but we saw him coming to that point in this tournament (CPL).  A lot of work has been done in the various T20 series, behind the scenes with Oshane,” he added.

“When he played, we didn’t see exactly what we were looking for, but now we see a bit of the Oshane that we know in this tournament (CPL) and will feel that if he keeps improving he will be the sort of bowler that could make a difference for us in the right condition.  Hsis extra pace, his extra bounce, and when he is on song he gets the ball to swing at that pace as well.  So, we think he could make a big difference in the team.”

 

 

Atlanta United picked up a critical win in their quest for the MLS play-offs, defeating Orlando City 3-0 Friday to give Gonzalo Pineda his first win as head coach. 

George Campbell headed home the opener in the 25th minute for his first MLS goal and Atlanta benefitted from an own goal by Daryl Dike in the 38th. 

Ezequiel Barco ended any suspense by netting in the 72nd minute after taking a long ball and working his way laterally across the penalty area before firing home with his right foot.

The emphatic win leaves Atlanta level on points with D.C. United, who remain seventh in the Eastern Conference on goal differential.

In Western Conference play, Portland defeated Vancouver 1-0 thanks to a 66th-minute own goal by Ranko Veselinovic. 

Felipe Mora's low drive from the right side got past Vancouver goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau and appeared headed for the net, but it was Veselinovic who made sure it got there with a failed clearance.

Portland moved past Minnesota and into fifth in the conference with the victory, while Vancouver remained just outside play-off position, one point adrift of Real Salt Lake.

In-form batsman Sherfane Rutherford and spinner Sunil Narine were among a few players not eligible for selection to the World Cup squad after failing fitness standards, chief of selectors Roger Harper has confirmed.

In the ongoing Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Rutherford has been one of the most outstanding players so far, scoring 201 runs in 7 matches, with an average of 40.20 and a strike rate of 136.73.  Speculation had linked the player with a late consideration for a space in the West Indies World Cup squad but, as it has for other players in the recent past, it turns out his fitness level was an issue. 

“As well as he has been performing he is one of a few players who did not meet our fitness criteria, so he was not eligible for selection,” Harper told members of the media, in explaining the player’s omission.

Narine, once the top-ranked spinner in the world, has recently shown versatility at the top of the order as a pinch-hitter and could have been a weapon for the team at the tournament. 

“Sunil Narine is a great miss for a team like this in a tournament like this.  Any team would miss having a bowler of that quality in the team but as I mentioned with Rutherford and some of the others Sunil also did not make our fitness standards,” Harper said.

Based on standards implemented by Cricket West Indies (CWI), in 2019, players must achieve a mark of 40 in the Yo-Yo Endurance Test unless given a medical exemption by the CWI medical committee.  Another player that has shown plenty of promise during the CPL campaign, but did also did not meet the fitness standards, was fast bowler Odean Smith.

Man of the Match Kennar Lewis smashed his second half-century of the season as the Jamaica Tallawahs made it two wins in two as they defeated the Saint Lucia Kings by 55 runs at Warner Park, St Kitts.

This win means the Tallawahs move into a qualifying spot for the knockout games next week but all six teams still have a mathematical chance to reach the latter stages. The Kings remain in third place in the table with all teams having two more group matches left to play.

The Tallawahs got off to a lightning start thanks to other brutal innings from Kennar Lewis who smashed 56 from just 24 balls. Lewis was well supported by Shamarh Brooks as the Tallawahs reached 78-1 off their PowerPlay overs.

While wickets fell throughout the Tallawahs innings they managed to maintain a fast scoring rate throughout with contributions from the middle order. It was Imad Wasim who pushed the Tallawahs past 200 with 10-ball innings worth 27 runs including three consecutive sixes off the 20th over.

The Kings chase started just as quickly with Andre Fletcher and Mark Deyal both making quick-fire scores as they reached 79-1 off their first six overs. Roston Chase and Deyal put on 66 runs in just 32 balls but both fell in the space of two balls to Carlos Brathwaite to bring the Tallawahs back into the match.

Those two wickets gave the Tallawahs a lot more control as they squeezed the Kings in the middle overs with Brathwaite keeping things very tight. The Tallawahs took two wickets in two balls twice more as the Kings chase petered out and the Tallawahs emerged victorious.

Jamaica Tallawahs 211 all out (Lewis 56, Brooks 34; Royal 3-37, Royal 3-53) beat Saint Lucia Kings 156 all out (Deyal 33, Chase 30; Imad 3-34, Brathwaite 2-13) by 55 runs

West Indies chief of selector Roger Harper admits it was a difficult choice to relegate talented all-rounder Jason Holder to a reserve position, following the unveiling of the 15-member T20 World Cup squad on Thursday.

Many were left astonished after Holder, who has had a few standout stints in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and international T20 cricket in recent months, was only named among four reserve players.

“Leaving a player of the standard and quality of Jason out of our final 15 was a difficult decision and it provoked a lot of debate,” Harper told members of the media via an online press conference.

“When we look at the type of composition we wanted, considering the all-rounders that we had and the balance, he was unfortunate not to make it,” he added.

“It was a 15-man squad, everyone couldn’t make it, different things were taken into consideration and Jason just missed out, but with a player of his stature and quality it was a difficult decision and one we didn’t take lightly.”

In 10 matches and three series against Pakistan, South Africa, and Sri Lanka, Holder totalled 90 runs, had an average of 30, and claimed 9 wickets.  He, however, struggled in the team’s most recent series against Pakistan totalling just 2 runs and 4wickets in four matches.

 

Jamaica track and field star Elaine Thompson-Herah has her eyes set on eclipsing the long-standing women’s 100m record, but after adding the Diamond League trophy to her list of outstanding accomplishments this year, she is content to leave that feat until next season.

Once again, the Olympic champion proved to be in a class of her own on Thursday's Diamond League finale, in Zurich, pulling well clear of a quality field to stop the clock at 10.65.  The time was the athlete’s fourth run under 10.7s this season, the most times done by any female athlete in history.

The performance marked yet another outstanding achievement for Thompson-Herah who a few weeks ago claimed the sprint double in Tokyo, and also in the process broke American Florence Griffith-Joyner’s longstanding 100m Olympic record.

However, it was a performance a few weeks later, a jaw-dropping 10.54 set in Eugene, Oregon, that set tongue’s wagging and raised expectations for a world record challenge.  The time was not only the second-fastest ever run over the distance but just 0.5 seconds outside of Griffith-Joyner’s world record, for many years believed to be unapproachable.  After a long, tiring but extraordinarily successful season, however, the athlete is more than content to leave that pursuit for another time.

“It has been a crazy season, a long one and a tiring one. I was so consistent because I was just keeping the faith in me and did not allow any negativity,” Thompson said following the event.

 “I am really happy and grateful. I am tired now but this is my job. I would describe this season with one word: amazing, yet it had ups and downs. I have to give God thanks that I am healthy and that I could finish such a long season…This year, it was a long season with ups and downs, but next year, the world record is definitely on my mind.”

Trinbago Knight Riders battled to a six-wicket victory in their 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) encounter with Barbados Royals.

Eight-time Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt is not contemplating a return to athletics despite feeling the temptation for a comeback.

Bolt ended his career on the track in 2017, calling it quits at the age of 31 after a spate of hamstring injuries, one of which curtailed his efforts in what was supposed to be the Jamaican's final race at the 2017 World Athletics Championships.

Although it was not the glorious conclusion he may have hoped for, Bolt still left sprinting as the world record holder in the 100 metres, 200m and 4x100m relay and his exploits on the track saw him collect a remarkable eight Olympic golds.

Back in August 2018, Bolt begin training with Australian football club the Central Coast Mariners and he scored twice in a friendly before being offered a contract, which was to be partially funded by the A-League.

He ultimately left the Mariners in November and declared two months later that he was done with all sports – though the thought of a U-turn did cross his mind later in 2019.

However, his coach urged Bolt to resist such a temptation, seemingly denying the world another opportunity to see the legendary sprinter in action at another Olympic Games.

Asked if he was contemplating a comeback at the age of 35, Bolt told BBC Sport: "It's too late. If I was going to come back it would have been to be for this Olympics.

"When I told my coach I was going to retire he sat me down and said, 'when you retire, that's it. I'm not doing any comeback tours, nothing. So, make sure you are ready to retire'.

"I remember I went to him in 2019 and said, 'what do you think about coming back for the Olympics?' And he looked at me and said, 'don't even start'.

"So, if it's not my coach, I'm not going to do it, because I believe in him and if he says no, it's no - but I've got that itch though."

Guyana Amazon Warriors moved back into the top four of the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) table with a 17-run victory over the Saint Lucia Kings.

The Amazon Warriors won the toss and elected to bat first, but they had to overcome an early wobble to post a competitive total led by Brandon King’s enterprising 77.

In reply, the Kings looked as if they were in cruise control when Roston Chase and Tim David put together a big partnership but excellent death bowling tightened the screws and the Kings succumbed to the pressure.

Having been supplanted in the top four by Jamaica Tallawahs earlier in the day, Guyana needed a win to reignite their competition. However, three early wickets in the PowerPlay put them on the backfoot as Wahab Riaz and Jeavor Royal made the early breakthroughs.

 King came to the Amazon Warriors rescue with his first Hero CPL 50 of the season but other than Nicholas Pooran’s 25 no batsmen was able to stick with King.

Once King fell for his sparkling 77, Odean Smith was able to add some maximums to take Guyana to a challenging total of 151.

Saint Lucia Kings were circumspect in their early reply and found themselves three wickets down with 43 runs on the board.  Gudakesh Motie’s parsimonious spin bowling saw him take 2 for 12 from his four overs to keep the Amazon Warriors well in the hunt.

Roston Chase and Tim David put together a boundary-laden partnership of 75 from 63 balls but just as it seemed they would take the Kings home, Naveen Ul-Haq and Odean Smith bowled four excellent overs to seal two crucial points for the Amazon Warriors.

 

 Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz got their first points of the CONCACAF World Cup final round, with a hard-fought 1-1 draw to Costa Rica, which was a tale of two halves.

Costa Rica went ahead early, but Jamaica found an answer to force the teams to split a point Wednesday at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Costa Rica took the lead in the third minute when Bryan Ruiz weighed up a beautiful ball for Jonathan Moya on the back post. The attacker Moya spotted Jimmy Marin making a run and used his head to set Marin up for an easy shot over the line, with Jamaica GK Andre Blake still working to defend a potential shot from Moya on the post.

Yet, Jamaica was able to find an equalizer just after the halftime break. Left-back Kemar Lawrence got into the final third with the ball and plenty of space in the 47th minute and teed up a cross for Shamar Nicholson. Nicholson didn’t hit his header entirely cleanly, but that seemed to flummox goalkeeper Keylor Navas, and Nicholson was off to celebrate his second goal of World Cup qualification.

Costa Rica was on the break again in the 68th minute, with Marin breaking free, but his touch took him too wide and Jamaica was able to recover from the danger.

There was danger on Navas’ net in the 87th minute, with the former Concacaf Goalkeeper of the Year making a pair of interventions, including using his legs to sweep away a ball that Javon East was attempting to control in the box.

It’s the first point Jamaica has earned in qualification, with the Reggae Boyz set to look for more points in October when they travel to face the U.S.

 Costa Rica’s first match of the October window is away to Honduras and the Ticos will look to add to the pair of points they amassed in September.

Decorated Jamaica sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce insists there are no ill feelings towards talented young American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, despite plenty of talk surrounding the athletes in recent weeks.

In truth, the majority of the arguments have come from feuding sides of the Jamaica vs the United States track and field rivalry, which has amplified in recent months since the American burst onto the scene.

The flamboyant Richardson has certainly played her part in fueling debates in recent months, even if her performances have not quite lived up to expectations, the number of eyes on track and field certainly seems to have increased.

The American was initially expected to face a high-powered Jamaica trio of Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah, and Shericka Jackson at the Olympic Games, but ended up missing the top-billed event after picking up a one-month suspension for using marijuana.  At the event, Thompson-Herah broke the longstanding Olympic record with Fraser-Pryce second and Jackson third.

There was for Richardson and some fans, however, the sense of a missed opportunity and a much-hyped meeting of the American facing the Jamaica trio in Eugene two weeks later was presented in that light.  Things did not go as planned for Richardson, however, as she had plenty to say before the event but finished in last place.

The result was the same as the Olympics with Thompson-Herah finishing first, Fraser-Pryce second, and Jackson third.  However, it was Fraser-Pryce who went viral following the sprint as she was caught on camera passing an animated Richardson interview with a mirthful look and knowing smirk.  The fans had a field day, but she insists there wasn’t too much to it.

“I mean, seriously, it was just a look,” Fraser-Pryce told sports lifestyle magazine The Undefeated.

 “I was having a conversation with my teammate and she said something, and then I looked. But it wasn’t – it was just what it is. It was just a look, you know? It was just a look. Yeah. There was nothing more behind it, if I’m being very honest, there was nothing more behind it,” she added.

In her mind, the fiery mentality that the American brings to the sport is also good for track and field.

“I like her. I like her personality,” Fraser-Pryce said.

“…for us as women, we’re somehow supposed to just stand at the line, look cute and just run, [and] wave. We’re not allowed to express ourselves or show our emotions.”

 

Teddy Bishop followed up his unbeaten 97 on Monday with a magnificent match-winning century which guided West Indies Rising Stars U19s to a sensational victory over England Young Lions in the third match on Wednesday.

Jamaica Tallawahs inflicted the third successive defeat on St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in this year’s Hero Caribbean Premier League with a 22-run victory at Warner Park on Wednesday.

The Patriots won the toss and opted to bowl, yet the Tallawahs were able to post a sizeable score of 169-8, largely thanks to some power hitting from captain Rovman Powell and Andre Russell. 

The Patriots were unable to accelerate and chase the total as Tallawah bowlers Imad Wasim, Veerasammy Permaul and Migael Pretorius helped produce a disciplined bowling performance which earned the franchise their third win of this year’s Hero CPL.

Jamaica Tallawahs got off to a steady start, openers Kennar Lewis and youngster Kirk McKenzie batting through the first five overs before Lewis was caught out on the boundary. Shamarh Brooks top scored with 43 runs from 39 balls to consolidate before Powell and Russell hit fast runs to take the score to a substantial total.

Patriot’s stand out bowlers were spinners Jon-Russ Jaggesar and veteran Fawad Ahmed, who ensured their side took wickets throughout the innings while maintaining low economy rates of five and under.

St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, in contrast, had an indifferent start, losing batsman Evin Lewis in the second over, closely followed by captain Chris Gayle.

Devon Thomas and Joshua da Silva accumulated runs in search of building a foundation but wickets tumbled and only Dominic Drakes later on in the innings was able to strike at the required velocity to chase the target, hitting 22 runs from just 12 balls. Once Drakes was out and Fabian Allen dismissed in the 19th over, any hopes of a Patriots win evaporated and the Tallawahs were able to successfully defend their target.

 Jamaica Tallawahs jump into a playoff spot with this victory, and will be hoping to stay there for the duration of this year’s league stages.

Scores: Jamaica Tallawahs 169-8 (Brooks 43, Powell 37; Fawad 2-14, Jaggesar 2-20) beat St Kitts & Nevis Patriots 147-8 (Thomas 35, da Silva 28; Pretorius 3-26, Permaul 2-31) by 22 runs

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