On the heels of her record-breaking, history-making season Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah is reportedly parting ways with MVP Track Club, just under 18 months after Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce departed to join Elite Performance.

The Jamaica Sunshine Girls are set to take on England in a three-match series dubbed the ‘Vitality Roses Reunited’ set for London, in November.

The teams were originally set to face-off in a series in January but that was postponed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and strict travel restrictions.  The upcoming series will still be subject to Covid-19 travel restrictions but will be played in front of a maximum capacity stadium, with measures regarding crowd sizes eased in England.

The series will help both teams begin preparations for the next year’s Commonwealth Games, which will take part in Birmingham, England next year.  The Jamaicans have not played in an official international competition since the World Netball Cup in 2020.

The series is set to tip-off on November 28th at the Copper Box Arena, before moving on to the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, with consecutive games on December 4 and December 5.

New England Revolution became the first team to qualify for the MLS Cup play-offs thanks to a last-gasp 3-2 victory over Chicago Fire.

Supporters' Shield leaders the Revolution booked their play-off spot courtesy of a 90th-minute winner from MVP candidate Carles Gil on Wednesday.

New England – 15 points clear atop the Eastern Conference and 10 points ahead in the Supporters' Shield race – entered the midweek clash amid a four-match unbeaten streak against Chicago – the Revolution's longest undefeated run versus the Fire.

They extended that streak in an entertaining showdown with hosts the Fire at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Henry Kessler opened the scoring for the Revs in the 11th minute before Chicago's Carlos Teran restored parity entering the interval.

The Revs and Fire traded goals via Teal Bunbury and Gaston Gimenez before substitute Gil struck at the death.

Nashville, who are second to New England in the east, crushed David Beckham's Inter Miami 5-1.

Inter Miami's club-record six-match unbeaten streak (W5 D1) ended with a 4-0 rout at the hands of New York Red Bulls last time out – it was only the club's second defeat in 12 matches following a six-game losing run.

But Inter Miami crashed to consecutive humiliating defeats in a match that saw Gregore sent off with four minutes of regulation remaining.

Hany Mukhtar's brace fuelled visiting Nashville, with Inter Miami ninth in the Eastern Conference and three points adrift of the play-off positions.

Meanwhile, the derby honours were shared between the Red Bulls and 10-man New York City following a dramatic 1-1 draw.

Patryk Klimala converted a 102nd-minute penalty to salvage a point for the Red Bulls.

Mount Pleasant coach Wally Downes has hailed the impact of star forward Jourdaine Fletcher in pushing the team to the semifinal of the Jamaica Premier League.

Having gone behind in the first half it was Fletcher who grabbed a crucial goal for the team, after being introduced from the bench.  The alert forward came into the game at the start of the second half, found the back of the net in the 62nd minute, after profiting from a defensive mix-up.

The equaliser was a heavy blow to the Stars of the East, who had come into the encounter with a 3-1 first-leg deficit but quickly cut the lead to one goal after scoring early in the second half.

The goal was the fifth of the season for Fletcher, who also found the back of the net in the first leg.

“He wasn’t 100 percent fit to play 90 minutes but he’s an addition to us that you just can’t leave off the pitch,” Downes said of the player’s substitute role.

“So I waited as long as I could and clearly it was the tactical change at the right time.”

Mount Pleasant will next face Waterhouse in the next round.

 

 

Tivoli Gardens soared into the last four of the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) with a rousing 4-0 second-leg win over Vere United at the Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence on Wednesday.

After a scoreless first leg between the team, goals from Stephen Barnett, Trayvone Reid, Horatio Morgan, and Jermaine Johnson blew the tie wide open, and perhaps at the end of the tie flattered the West Kingston squad.

Barnett got things rolling in the 18th minute when he was served up with a well-weighted cross from Delroy Grey, which he was able to deflect neatly into the corner of the goal.

With Vere pushing to get back into the game, it was Tivoli who struck after catching their opponents on the counterattack. Reid broke away from a high Vere backline before calmly slotting the ball around goalkeeper Shavon Wilson to double the lead in the 62nd minute.

A loosely marked Morgan then slotted the ball into the net at close range after being picked out from a corner in the 83rd minute.  Veteran Johnson then rubbed salt into the wounds of Vere Technical after coming off the bench to score a penalty in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

In the day’s other game, Mount Pleasant also advance to the semi final's following a 1-1 draw with Harbour View to advance 4-2 on aggregate.  The Stars of the East started the game on fire after Oshane Staple found the back of the net in the first five minutes.  Needing a goal to tie the aggregate score, however, Harbour View had a mix-up at the back, which allowed Jourdaine Fletcher to ghost in and tie the game at 1-1.

Jamaican Olympian Toni-Ann Williams is in Belgium to begin studies in Sports Administration on an Olympic Solidarity Scholarship via the Jamaica Olympic Association.

Consolidated Bakeries Jamaica Limited through its Purity Bakery brand is in discussions to formalize a professional relationship with Olympic relay gold medalist and 100m bronze medalist Shericka Jackson.

Former West Indies cricketer Marlon Samuels has been hit with charges by the ICC on behalf of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) for breaching four codes of their Anti-Corruption Code for Participants of the T10 League.

Former England captain turned cricket analyst Kevin Pietersen has expressed surprise at the decision by Punjab Kings XI to legendary West Indian batsman Chris Gayle out of the line-up on his birthday.

The iconic ball-beater turned 42 on Tuesday but could only watch from the bench as the team fell to a 2 runs loss to Rajasthan Royals.  The West Indian has managed 178 runs in 8 matches, with an average of 25.42.  The average is the fourth-best on the team, but on Tuesday the Kings opted for Aiden Markham at the third place in the line-up, which Gayle has been occupying since last season.

Pietersen admits he found the situation to be an unusual one.

   "There will be some questions asked. I don’t understand why you would leave Chris Gayle out on his birthday,” Pietersen said on Star Sports.

“If there was one game you were going to play him, it was this one. If he failed then you say ‘ok, you can have a bit of rest’. So, I can’t understand the thinking at all," he added.

Gayle has been selected for the West Indies T20 squad for next month’s ICC World T20, the appearance will mark his 7th at the global tournament.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) petitioned the Jamaican government to allow some fans into the National Stadium for upcoming home World Cup qualifiers.

The Reggae Boyz will be back in action next month when they tackle the United States on October 7 and play their second home game of the qualifiers against Canada.  The Jamaicans had a chastening start to their home campaign, following a 3-0 home loss to Panama earlier this month.

Due to existing coronavirus protocols, the match was, however, played in front of an empty stadium.  The JFF, however, hopes to have at least some fans for next month’s second round.  Based on the local football body’s proposal only a limited number of fans will be allowed to attend the match, and they must provide proof of vaccination in order to be able to do so.

The Reggae Boyz, who are looking to get to the World Cup for the first time in over 23 years, find themselves at the bottom of the eight-team group after the first three games.  The Boyz opened with a 2-1 loss away to Mexico before the damaging 3-0 home loss to Panama.  The team, however, got the board with a 1-1 draw away to Costa Rica.

In the midst of her post-Olympic campaign, Shericka Jackson, who won a bronze medal in the 100m in a Jamaican sweep of the event at the Tokyo Olympics in August and then a gold medal anchoring the 4x100m relay in a new national record of 41.02, was missing home.

On September 3, she tweeted about the things she was missing the most – two curry patties from Devon House, 3 grapefruit ice creams also from Devon House, chocolate, two cheese patties and two Purity Buns.

The tweet generated more than 3000 likes and was retweeted more than 300 times and eventually caught the attention of Purity Bakery, who simply responded “We got you.”

They sure did.

Earlier Monday, less than 48 hours after Jackson returned to Jamaica for the first time since July, Purity delivered on their promise with a package of Purity buns for the Jamaican star but also several palettes of product for members of her community.

“@sherickajacko just touch dung and got her Purity bun and products courtesy of Purity Jamaica,” the company tweeted.

“She also got buns for her community. We love you Shericka and we’re proud of all you did for us on an international scale.”

 Could this be the start of something sweet for Jackson and Purity.

 

 

(This column was originally published in the Stabroek News newspaper)

“Knives for Roger Harper and his hallucinating band of selectors, aren't yet drawn. But surely, they are being sharpened!"

Those were the words of the seasoned Jamaican cricket journalist Ray Ford, in reaction to the storm of controversy that has been created as a result of the choices made by Selections’ Chair Roger Harper and his Panel for the West Indies official squad of 15 plus four reserves to participate in the forthcoming ICC 2021 T20 World Cup. The 2021 ICC T20 World Cup will be held in the UAE from October 17 – November 13.

Further revelations from the most recent episodes of the West Indies World Cup Squad “selections fiasco,” would now suggest that the sharpened knives have since not only been drawn but that it is now only a matter of time before they are used to pierce the tenure of Roger Harper, Miles Bascome and Head Coach Phil Simmons as members of the West Indies Selections Panel with terminal effect!

The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) was among the first to publicly question the Panel’s competence. Angered by the Selections Panel’s omission of Sherfayne Rutherford on the grounds of his not having met the established fitness criteria, the GCB suggested that Cricket West Indies (CWI) should advise the Caribbean cricket public regarding the standard and schedule for fitness tests for regional cricketers.

Stating that the Selections Panel has disappointed both Guyana and the Caribbean at large, while referring to its decisions as a “selection fiasco,” the GCB called for the Panel to be made accountable to all cricket institutions and stakeholders in the region and to justify its choices.
“Failure to do so, the GCB calls on CWI to dismiss the Selections Panel and to replace it with a more competent one which will represent the best interests of West Indies cricket!”
In addition to the GCB’s issued statement, several Caribbean Heads of States have also weighed in with their own criticisms of the selected squad. The respective Prime Ministers of Barbados and St Vincent, the Honorable Mia Mottley and Dr Ralph Gonsalves, as well as Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali, have all expressed their profound disappointment and disagreement with some of the Harper-led Selections Panel’s choices.

Further, the former West Indies fast bowling legendary great, Sir Andy Roberts, referred to the Selections Panel’s non-inclusion of Barbadian Jason Holder, within the final squad of fifteen and his relegation to the status of a mere reserve as “embarrassing!”

Holder holds the current ICC ranking as international cricket’s best all-rounder. He is also the Cricket West Indies’ only all formats, Tests, ODIs and T20s, contracted player.

Holder’s relegations as a reserve, the medical exemptions provided to Chris Gayle and Ravi Rampaul, as well as the reported non-consideration of Odean Smith and Sherfayne Rutherford as a result of their respective failures to meet the established fitness criteria for West Indies selection. These are uppermost among the far too many highly questionable World Cup Squad decisions made by Harper and his Panel.

It can now arguably be said that never before in Caribbean cricket’s illustrious history has a selected West Indies squad caused such controversy. The very centre of which appears to be the glaringly apparent inconsistencies surrounding the fitness standards that were applied to determine selection, or conversely non-selection, of certain players to the squad.

Where is the consistency between the medical exemptions granted to Chris Gayle and Ravi Rampaul and the non-consideration of Smith and Rutherford for not having met the established fitness criteria? That is the very simple question now being asked of Harper and his Panel. Shouldn’t “what’s good for the goose, also be granted to the gander?”

Furthermore, as Sir Andy Roberts has also correctly reasoned as important a tournament as the T20 World Cup is, coupled with the fact that we are the reigning Champions seeking to defend our title, why are we even considering, let alone actually including players who are in need of medical exemptions?

The former West Indies opening batsman, Bryan Davis’ reaction to the fitness-related decisions of Harper and his Panel was even more damning.

“This is dangerous territory we’re entering and the precedent being set for future selectors by the disqualification of young promising players while giving past successful players a medical exemption is a sign of dishonesty in selection policy. One is either fit enough to take his place in the team or he’s not. Every international cricketer walking out on that field to represent WI must deserve his place on the team by his performances and by extension his fitness. Equal status for all.”

Harper himself has also attracted the ire of former West Indies opening batsman Philo Wallace. The outspoken Wallace has highly criticized Harper’s self-admitted decision as Selection Chairman to leave the determination of Obed McCoy’s fitness readiness for the World Cup in the hands of Cricket West Indies’ Medical Committee.

As one of the designated death bowlers and hence a vital member of the West Indies’ World Cup bowling attack, McCoy has reportedly been suffering from recurring shin splints for some time now. His appearances in actual matches of late, including both those in the recent West Indies T2o Series against Australia and Pakistan as well as this year’s recently concluded CPL, can only be best described as having been sporadic.

Harper having left the determination of McCoy’s fitness to the Medical Committee would, therefore, appear to be an abdication of his responsibilities as Selections Chair. Moreover, it also now means that in addition to already being the most aged of the 2021 T20 World Cup’s 16 participating teams, as well as arguably the most unfit, the West Indies could also well be the only squad containing an injury affected player even before the tournament’s commencement!

As a member of Cricket West Indies’ recently structured Committee to develop a new policy for the governance of the selection of West Indies teams, Wallace has also indicated that fitness was identified as the most basic fundamental requirement of its submitted recommendations. The Committee’s recommendations were subsequently wholly endorsed by Cricket West Indies’ Board of Directors. As such, in the light of the Word Cup selections decisions that have been made by Harper and Company, Wallace has suggested that the Committee’s recommendations are now seemingly being ignored.

“When does this current Panel’s tenure end?”

That was the question posed by Philo Wallace as one of the panellists on the recent September 14, 2021 broadcast of the highly popular Barbados-based Mason & Guest Programme. Mason & Guests is hosted weekly by the noted West Indies cricket Radio Commentator, Andrew Mason.

If Wallace’s question is not now surely a sign of knives not only having actually been drawn but also being pointed squarely in the direction of Roger Harper and his Cricket West Indies Selections Panel, then “the Pope isn’t Catholic!”

 

Romeo Beckham made his professional debut for American third-tier club Fort Lauderdale CF on Sunday.

The 19-year-old signed a contract with the club earlier this month and started on the right wing in his first appearance for the reserve team of Inter Miami – the MLS outfit his father David Beckham owns.

He played for 79 minutes in a 2-2 draw against South Georgia Tormenta FC in the USL League one.

"Blessed to have made my pro debut tonight for Fort Lauderdale, full focus onto the next match," Beckham posted on Instagram post-match.

Another familiar name was among the Lauderdale ranks, with Phil Neville's son Harvey playing in midfield – his 16th appearance for the Florida outfit since leaving Manchester United's academy.

Both could return to action Lauderdale against Greenville Triumph on 2 October as they look to rise from eighth place.

The Jamaica Football Federation has revealed that Shamar Nicholson suffered a facial fracture during Charleroi FC’s 1-0 loss to Club Brugge in the Belgian Pro League on Sunday.

However, the player will be able to continue playing this season and in the upcoming world cup qualifiers with the use of a protective face shield.

Nicholson was forced to leave the field in the second half of the match after he was hit in the face during a violent collision with Brandon Mechele.

The striker jumped to head a ball on goal but Mechele,  the Club Brugge defender, in challenging for the ball, headed Nicholson in the jaw, rendering the Jamaican unconscious for a short time. Reports on the incident said Nicholson tried to play on after regaining consciousness but was unable to continue and was substituted.

Immediately afterwards, club officials feared Nicholson have suffered a broken jaw but were awaiting the results of additional tests. Their fears were proven valid as Reggae Boyz team manager Roy Simpson confirmed this morning that Nicholson suffered a minor fracture but will be able to continue playing this season with the use of a protective face shield.

Nicholson scored both of Jamaica’s goals in the Reggae Boyz first three World Cup qualifiers in the Octogonal round. He scored Jamaica’s only goal in Jamaica’s 2-1 loss to Mexico and scored the equalizer in a 1-1 draw against Costa Rica in San Jose.

Jamaica’s next round of qualifiers begins on October 7 against the United States. The Reggae Boyz then take on Canada on October 10 before facing Honduras on October 13.

 

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