The 43rd staging of the MILO Western Relays that had been scheduled for Saturday, February 13, has been cancelled, organizers said citing the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

2015 World 100m hurdles gold medallist, Danielle Williams, is expected to open her season in the United States, at the American Track League Indoor Series, next month.

The upcoming appearance will be the first for the 28-year-old sprinter since she pulled the plug on her 2020 season, in May, when the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the international track and field schedule.

The American Track League, which is part of the World Athletics Silver Tour, gives professional athletes an opportunity to return to competition as preparations begin for an Olympic year. 

The meet, which is staged in four-parts, ran off in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Sunday.  2016 Olympic gold medalist in the 110m hurdles, Omar McLeod, who raced in the 60 metres, was one of several Jamaicans who took part on the opening weekend.  The list also included the likes of Tyquendo Tracey, Senoj-Jay Givans, and Christopher Taylor.  The meet will continue with the next three installments on January 31st, February 7th, and February 14th.

Williams, the 2019 Diamond League champion, is based in South Carolina in the USA where she trains with coach Lennox Graham at Clemson University.

In-form West Indies middle-order batsman, Jermaine Blackwood, has credited brief advice received from top-class India batsman Virat Kohli as helpful in changing his mindset towards scoring runs.

The 29-year-old scored his first century against England in 2015, a plucky 112 unbeaten in a draw in Antigua.  Following that impressive achievement, however, Blackwood seemed unable to cross the double-digit threshold.  In fact, before finally breaking the streak with 104 against New Zealand, in December, Blackwood had managed to score 10 half-centuries in-between but always fell short of a triple-digit score.

Included in that number were some figures frustratingly well clear of the 50 mark, but falling just short of the 100 mark, when for all intents and purposed the batsman seemed well set to do so.  The tally includes three scores in the 90s.  He scored 92 against Sri Lanka, in Galle, in 2015; 95 against Pakistan, in Abu Dhabi, in 2016, and 95 against England, in Southampton, in July of last year.  Prior to that, Blackwood also registered 85 against England, in Bridgetown, in May 2015.  During India’s tour of the West Indies, Blackwood took the opportunity to seek the advice of run-machine Kohli when the two briefly interacted off the pitch.

“I just asked him how come all the time I score so many half-centuries and just one century, and he just replied, ‘What did you do when you scored the century? How many deliveries did you face?’ I said I faced 212, and he said that’s it, once you can bat some balls you will score runs,” Blackwood recalled.

“I took a lot from that and I’ve always told myself, after that conversation, once I can bat over 200 balls or 300, I’m going to score runs.  Once I’m there, the way I bat, I’m going to score runs regardless of who I’m playing against or where I’m playing.”

Out of favour West Indies batsman Shai Hope and brother Kyle will be among three players to miss out on the CG Insurance Super50 Cup, after returning positive COVID-19 results in the latest round of PCR tests.

The Hope brothers, who would have represented Barbados Tridents, will be joined on the sidelines by left-handed opener Trevon Griffith who was part of the Guyana Jaguars batting line-up.  The latest round of tests was conducted on Sunday.

The Barbados Pride have already named Zachary McCaskie and Tevyn Walcott as replacements for the Hopes, while Kemol Savory has been named as the replacement for Griffith in the Jaguars squad.

The trio will remain in their respective territories where there will be required to follow local COVID-19 protocols.

All other members of the Barbados Pride and Guyana Jaguars squads returned negative COVID-19 tests and will undergo second tests on Thursday, January 28 before travelling for the tournament, as part of CWI's established protocols.

The CG Insurance Super50 Cup will be played at the Coolidge Cricket Ground and Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua from Sunday, February 7 to Saturday, February 27. On opening day, Leeward Islands Hurricanes will host arch-rivals Windward Islands Volcanoes at CCG.

 

West Indies fast bowler, Kemar Roach, insists he is ready for the challenge of trying to take wickets on Bangladesh pitches, despite the surfaces being more suited to spin-bowling.

Despite the presence of several spinners in the squad, the 32-year-old is expected to lead the West Indies bowling line-up, along with fellow pace bowlers Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph.  If the dominance of spinners in the One Day International series, on pitches that offered very little assistance to pace bowlers, is anything to go by they will certainly have their work cut out.

Having been in Bangladesh on two prior Test series, Roach would know first-hand what it takes to succeed on spin-friendly terrain.

In 2011, he claimed 0 for 52 off 9 overs and 1 for 49 off 13.2 overs in the second Test of the series.  When he returned in 2018, he claimed 1 for 74 off 18 overs in the first Test and 2 for 61 in 25 overs as Bangladesh made a mammoth 500 in the second Test.

“It mostly favours the spinners but I think there is enough there for fast bowlers to get something as well.  It’s just about having your plans, executing, and being disciplined,” Roach told members of the media via a press conference from Bangladesh on Tuesday.

“It’s going to be tough, we know we have to bowl a lot more overs to get our rewards but once you are willing to put the work in you can get some rewards over here…so it’s going to be tough but I’m up for the fight.”

The Windies have had recent success with pace bowling in Bangladesh with Tino Best claiming a five-for in 2012 and Fidel Edwards claiming 8 wickets in the 2011 series.

 

West Indies spinner, Rahkeem Cornwall, believes the unusually long preparation time before the start of the Bangladesh Test series has been beneficial for players needing to get used to ‘difficult’ conditions.

The regional team arrived in Bangladesh on January 10 and was required to quarantine for 7 days based on the country’s COVID-19 protocols.  Since clearing that hurdle, however, the Test team has been free to train and will not start the series until February 1.

The Asian team is known for being particularly difficult to beat on their home turf and easily dispatched the West Indies 2-0 on their last visit in 2018.  One of those advantages is said to be the team’s pitches.

“It has helped (extra time) you have to adapt to these conditions. These conditions are difficult to play in, so the more time we get to understand the conditions is the better it is for us,” Cornwall said.

“It spins a bit more here.  It is always going to be drier than the Caribbean.  So, we just have to adapt to it and play to the best of our ability,” he added.

The inexperienced West Indies team will be hoping for a better showing than in the recently concluded One Day International (ODI) series where the team was summarily swept aside 3-0.  The ODI batting line-up found the top class Bangladesh spinners on the surfaces a difficult task to cope with.   

Jamaica's 4x100m relay World Championship medallist, Jura Levy, has hopes of rehabilitating her career after overcoming a troublesome spell with injury and a recent move to Legacy Athletics Track Club.

The 30-year-old, former outstanding Vere Technical high school sprinter, was part of a bronze medal-winning national team at the 2017 World Championships in London.  A double injury blow experienced during the 2018 and 2019 seasons has since interrupted the athlete’s progression.

The sprinter is back to feeling in top shape, however, and the combination of a not-so-busy 2020 season, which was heavily impacted by the pandemic, and the recent move to Legacy has her feeling positive about the future and targeting a return to prominence by securing a spot on the national team for the Tokyo Olympics.

“I would like to make the Olympics team and get my personal medal,” Levy told Talking Sports.

The battle for the top three individual spots will be fierce, with decorated World and Olympic medallists Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah, all things going to plan, all but confirmed spots.  Former 2018 double World U20 sprint champion and promising prospect Briana Williams is also expected to figure prominently in the race.  Levy, however, refuses to count herself out.

“I don’t think any trials or championships is ever easy, but I’ve been there before and I’m putting in the work to get there.  So, come June I hope to secure a spot on the podium,” she added.

“My goal is to finish top three but if I make the Olympic team, I will still be ok, hopefully with a personal best.”

The CG Insurance Super50 Cup bowls off on Sunday, February 7 with the Leewards Hurricanes taking on the Windwards Volcanoes at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, only 19 matches will be played in the tournament scheduled to conclude on February 27.

According to Cricket West Indies, the health risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruption to all domestic cricket since late March 2020, with no competitive cricket allowed regionally except for an abridged version of the Caribbean Premier League which took place last August in Trinidad.

This year’s annual CG Insurance Super50 Cup will provide a platform for the region’s six major cricketing rivals to clash in 19 action-packed 50-over matches starting from Sunday, February 7 when Leeward Islands Hurricanes host the Windward Islands Volcanoes.

The tournament will come to an exciting climax when the new champions are crowned on Saturday, February 27.

The 2019-20 champions, West Indies Emerging Players, are unable to defend their 2019 trophy due to COVID-19 constraints, however, several of those players now feature in the squads of the six competing franchise teams, one of which will emerge as the CG Insurance Super50 Cup champions.

Each team will play each other on a round-robin basis with the top four teams qualifying for the semi-finals and the opportunity to reach the grand final.

Matches will be played at Antigua’s two international cricket venues - the Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) and the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium (SVRS). There will be 13 matches at CCG including the semi-finals and final, and six matches at SVRS.

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard said it was good to have regional cricket back after a one-year break.

"It is very good that cricket is coming back to the Caribbean ... players will get the opportunity to showcase their skills and entertain our fans. It has been a trying 2020 for cricketers and the whole Caribbean, so it is really good that we have the CG Insurance Super50 Cup being played at this time and hopefully it can unearth some new talent,” he said.

CWI has been working closely with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Sport in Antigua & Barbuda to orchestrate logistics and agree the safety and medical protocols for the commencement and duration of the tournament.

All players, support staff, match officials and supporting professionals will be tested with negative COVID-19 results before their arrival into Antigua. Players, support staff and match officials will operate within a bio-secure bubble and will be tested at regular intervals during the tournament with assistance from the local Ministry of Health and CARPHA.

 

“A huge amount of planning and work has been put in to ensure that the Super50 Cup can return and CWI would like to offer our sincere thanks and appreciation to the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, title partners CG Insurance, our host broadcasters ESPN Caribbean and our colleagues at the Leeward Islands Cricket Board and the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association, for all of their support in helping to stage the tournament during these unprecedented times,” said CWI CEO Johnny Grave.

Meanwhile, Naz Farrow, CEO of CG Insurance said the company was happy to be able to continue supporting regional cricket.

“CG Insurance is proud to sponsor the CWI Super50 Cup and thrilled to be a part of the first tournament of 2021. We are happy to support the many players and organizers involved and recognize the major efforts that have gone into the preparation of this event during these unique times. By partnering with the CWI series, we have the opportunity to support our various Caribbean nations and to showcase that we are stronger together,” he said.

The CG Insurance Super50 Cup is the marquee 50-over event in the West Indies featuring the six long-standing territorial rivals– Barbados Pride, Guyana Jaguars, Jamaica Scorpions, Leeward Islands Hurricanes, Trinidad & Tobago Red Force, and the Windward Islands Volcanoes.

This is the second edition of the Super50 Cup featuring CG Insurance as title sponsors, and the event promises to stage big performances and memorable moments as the teams go in pursuit of winning the coveted CG Insurance Super50 Cup and being awarded the Sir Clive Lloyd Trophy.

Below is the match schedule for the CG Insurance Super50 Cup

 

Sun, Feb 7 - Leewards Hurricanes v Windwards Volcanoes (day match)  - CCG

Mon, Feb 8 - Guyana Jaguars v Barbados Pride - CCG

Wed, Feb 10 - Leewards Hurricanes v Barbados Pride - CCG

Thur, Feb 11 - Jamaica Scorpions v Trinidad & Tobago Red Force - SVRS

Fri, Feb 12 - Leewards Hurricanes v Guyana Jaguars - CCG

Sat, Feb 13 - Windwards Volcanoes v Trinidad & Tobago Red Force - CCG

Sun, Feb 14 - Jamaica Scorpions v Guyana Jaguars - CCG

Mon, Feb 15 - Trinidad & Tobago Red Force v Barbados Pride - SVRS

Tue, Feb 16 - Windwards Volcanoes v Jamaica Scorpions - CCG

Wed, Feb 17 - Leewards Hurricanes v Trinidad & Tobago Red Force - CCG

Thu, Feb 18 - Windwards Volcanoes v Barbados Pride - SVRS

Fri, Feb 19 - Leewards Hurricanes v Jamaica Scorpions - SVRS

Sat, Feb 20 - Guyana Jaguars v Trinidad & Tobago Red Force - CCG

 

Sun, Feb 21 - Barbados Pride v Jamaica Scorpions - CCG

Mon, Feb 22 – Windwards Volcanoes v Guyana Jaguars - SVRS

Wed, Feb 24 - SEMI-FINAL 1 - CCG

Thur, Feb 25 - SEMI-FINAL 2 - CCG

Fri, Feb 26 - Fifth placed v Sixth placed -SVRS

Sat, Feb 27 – FINAL - CCG

Captain Jason Mohammed believes the West Indies substitutes sent to tour Bangladesh were simply not up to the task as the visitors suffered a 120-run loss at Chattogram today. It was their third straight loss in the three-match series.

Christopher Taylor says he is glad to have got the chance to prove himself to the world once more following his impressive indoor debut in Arkansas on Sunday.

Halle Hazzard won the women’s 200m at the Hokie Invitational meet held in Blacksburg, Virginia on Saturday.

In the finals run over three, Hazzard, Grenada’s 2018 Junior Sportswoman of the Year and a senior at the University of Virginia, clocked 24.04, her time in Section 1, from which two of the three medalists emerged.

Kayla Bonnick,  a graduate of St. Jago High School in Jamaica and a freshman at Virginia, clocked 24.72 for second in Section 1, but was third overall as Kiyah East of Louisville, won Section 3 in 24.55 for second place overall.

 

 

World U18 100m hurdles record holder set a new personal best while winning the 60m hurdles at the Aggie Invitational in Bryan-College Station in Texas on Saturday.

Three-time national shotgun champion Christian Sasso and four-time national female champion Wendy McMaster are eager to take to the course their respective rivals today at the David East Memorial Shoot at the picturesque Murphy Hill Estate which overlooks the town of Ocho Rios in St Ann.

Sasso, however confident, will have to look out for his rivals, who include six-time national champion Shaun Barnes as well as Ray McMaster, Craig Simpson and Robert Yap Foo.

The Ladies section also promises to be competitive with McMaster expecting to be challenged by her daughter Aliana, Marguerite Harris and Renee Rickhi.

Mention must be made of the Juniors who have been posting wins against some of the island’s top shooters.  Juniors such as Danzell Knight, Mark Desnoes, JJ Ralston and David Wong are expected to be engaged in heated battle throughout the day.

The shooters will compete in various classes including A-E, Junior A-D, Sub-Junior, Ladies and Hunters or beginners.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, there will be a number of changes to the 2021 staging of the tournament. The usual two-day event will now be held in one day in order to reduce the contact time among the shooters.

There will be no hospitality on the course and no after-shoot prize-giving lyme. The wearing of masks will be mandatory and shooters will be subjected to temperature checks on entering the venue.

There will also be no shooters briefings and fewer shooters will be allowed on the course at any one time.  This means that there will be two start times (9:30 am and 1:30 pm), which will lead to a longer day overall but makes for easier social distancing with fewer shooters on the course.

West Indies head coach, Phil Simmons, insists the upcoming Test series against Bangladesh will be a chance for inexperienced players to prove their mettle by doing well for the short-handed team.

If the play in the One Day Internationals (ODIs) is anything to go by, the regional team could have plenty of cause for concern as they have been unable to compete with Bangladesh to date.  In two matches so far, in which they batted first, the team was bowled out for 122 and 149 before Bangladesh easily chased down the target.

Facing off against the Asians next week, in what could be considered their weakest format, and with just as many inexperienced players in the line-up, it is likely to be a stern challenge.  Simmons sees an opportunity.

“It’s chance that guys get to show what they can do at this level.  It’s a chance for them to put their names in the hat for 2023 and put their names in the hat for Sri Lanka and later this year.  So, it’s good to see what people are made of,” Simmons said.

The coach predicts the four-day contests will be good for the team, as it should prove to be a test of strength.

“Playing in these conditions, playing in the environment that we are in and everything, you have to be strong.  You have to get stronger than just playing a cricket match.  So, you will see who are the strong ones and who leads from the front.  Let’s see who takes up the challenge and who comes out best in the two-Test matches.”

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.