Cricket West Indies has thanked Kieron Pollard for his service to the West Indies Men’s Team for the past fifteen years, including as captain of the One Day International (ODI) and T20 International (T20I) teams since September 2019.

The field for the eight-team 2022 Concacaf W Championship is now set, as Mexico, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica and Panama clinched the final six berths following the results of the final matchday of W Qualifying on Tuesday.

Mexico are winners of Group A after downing Puerto Rico 6-0 at the Estadio Nemesio Diez in Toluca, Mexico. Jacqueline Ovalle’s brace (13’, 51’), along with goals from Katty Martinez (15’), Myra Delgadillo (19’), Diana Ordonez (55’) and Maria Sanchez (90+1’) sealed the win for El Tricolor.

In the day’s other game in Group A, Suriname claimed a 5-1 win over Antigua and Barbuda at the Frank Essen Stadion in Paramaribo, Suriname. Van Ommeren Ravelcheny (27’), Andaya Lantveld (34’), Katoucha Patra (36’), Rowena Ondaan (68’) and Pique Naomi (90+4’) scored for the hosts, while Kai Jacobs (84’) tallied Antigua and Barbuda’s lone goal.

Costa Rica emerged as the top team in Group B after defeating Guatemala 5-0 at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose. Priscila Chinchilla (5’, 64’) scored a pair of goals and was joined on the scoresheet by Maria Salas (29’), Cristin Granados (52’) and Shirley Cruz (85’).

Saint Kitts and Nevis finished their qualifying campaign in Group B with a third straight win in a 6-0 final versus US Virgin Islands at Warner Park Football Stadium in Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis. Phoenetia Browne bagged a brace (77’, 90+3’), while Ellie Stokes (21’), Cloey Uddenberg (51’), Caroline Springer (57’) and Jahzara Claxton (65’) added scores.

Jamaica gave the home fans at the Sabina Park Stadium in Kingston a smile, as the Reggae Girlz captured Group C with a 5-1 win over the Dominican Republic. Khadija Shaw (79’, 90+3’) led the way with a brace, while Jody Brown (16’), Trudi Carter (40’) and Tiffany Cameron (60’) all added goals. Kathrynn Gonzalez (24’) scored for the Dominican Republic.

Bermuda also ended Group C on a positive note thanks to a 6-0 win over Grenada at the Dame Flora Duffy National Sports Centre in Hamilton, Bermuda. Leilanni Nesbeth (10’, 56’, 73’) notched a hat trick, Nia Christopher (23’, 88’) had a brace and Victoria Davis (78’) added a goal for the hosts.

Panama clinched their spot in the W Championship by virtue of their 2-0 victory against El Salvador at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City to clinch Group D. Second half scores from Yerenis De Leon (65’) and Karla Riley (78’) lifted the Canaleras to the three points.

Belize were 3-0 winners over Barbados to wrap up their play in Group D at the Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador, El Salvador. Jayda Brown (55’, 90+4’) had a brace, while Shendra Casimiro (38’) also got on the scoresheet.

Haiti continued to flex their scoring muscles and posted a 6-0 win versus Cuba to claim Group E at the Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Roselord Borgella (53’, 74’) finished as qualifying’s joint-top scorer with 11 goals thanks to a brace, while Nerilia Mondesir (23’), Melchie Dumornay (64’), Batcheba Louis (72’) and a Yarisleidy Mena (88’) own goal paved the way.

Honduras completed qualifying in Group E with a 2-1 triumph over Saint Vincent and the Grenadines at the Estadio Francisco Morazan in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Goals from Honduras players Kendra Haylock (26’) and Gabriela Garcia (53’) sandwiched Denella Creese’s (45+2’) score for Vincy Heat.

A late score from Lauryn Hutchinson earned Trinidad and Tobago a dramatic 2-2 draw with Guyana to take the top spot in Group F at Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Trinidad and Tobago. It looked like a brace from Guyana’s Sydney Cummings (45’, 82’) would outweigh Asha James’ goal (48’), but Hutchinson’s score in the 90’ delivered the W Championship-clinching draw for Trinidad and Tobago.

Nicaragua also enjoyed a winning finish to Group F by defeating Dominica 10-0 at the Estadio Nacional de Futbol in Managua. W Qualifying joint-top scorer Yessenia Flores (11 goals) scored four goals (2’, 19’, 31’, 53’), while Lilieth Rivera (14’), Jaclyn Gilday (25’), Reyna Hernandez (49’), Nathaly Silva (58’), Yorcelly Humphreys (71’) and Martha Silva (87’) also chipped in with scores.

 

Defiant second innings batting from man-of-the-match Nkrumah Bonner and Jason Holder helped the West Indies salvage a draw on day five of the first Apex Test match against England at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Saturday.

England’s unbeaten pair of captain Joe Root (84) and Zak Crawley (117) started the day attempting to add on to England’s overnight 217-1 and eventually got to 225 before Crawley became the first scalp of the day, falling to Holder for 121.

Root carried on and brought up his 24th Test match hundred, the second-most by an Englishman only behind former skipper Alastair Cook’s 33.

Dan Lawrence, who joined Root after Crawley’s dismissal, made a breezy 37 before he was removed by Alzarri Joseph to leave England 295-3 off 78.3 overs.

With a declaration looming, England’s batsmen tried to step up their scoring rate but kept losing wickets quickly, including Root for 109 and Ben Stokes for 13.

Joseph finished with 3-78 off 23.2 overs while Kemar Roach picked up 2-53 off 19 overs.

They eventually declared on 349-6, leaving the West Indies needing 286 for victory.

The West Indies started their pursuit just before lunch, eventually reaching 4-0 at the break.

After lunch, Captain Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell continued their fruitful partnership at the top of the order with a second 50 partnership of the match.

They got to 59-0 before Brathwaite was trapped in front by Stokes for 33. Campbell was then dismissed in the next over by Jack Leach for 22 to leave the hosts in a spot of bother at 59-2.

Shamarh Brooks (5) and Jermaine Blackwood (2) then quickly became Leach’s next two victims to leave the West Indies struggling at 67-4 in the 35th over.

Thankfully for the West Indies, Bonner (38) and Holder (37) safely negotiated the final 36.3 overs to lead the West Indies to 147-4 off 70.1 overs.

Jack Leach was the pick of the England bowlers with 3-57 off 30.1 overs.

Final Scores: England 311 and 349-6 declared, West Indies 375 and 147-4.

The second test gets underway on March 16th in Barbados.

 

 

Tuesday marks the start of the three-Test Apex series between the West Indies and England. The visitors have not won a Test series in the Caribbean since their3-0 triumph in 2004, the same series in which Brian Lara scored a world record 400 not out in the fourth Test at the Antigua Recreation Ground.

In 2019, when the teams last met in the Caribbean, the hosts secured a 2-1 series win and West Indies head coach Phil Simmons wants his team to keep the trend alive.

“We’re looking to play the cricket that we know will put us in a position to win the series. We’re trying to make sure we’re ready for everything England can throw at us,” the Trinidadian head coach said during a pre-match press conference on Monday while indicating that it will critical for the hosts to build strong opening partnerships when they bat.

In that series, Captain Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell shared opening stands of 53, 52, 70, 17 not out, 57 and five and they will once again be entrusted with the responsibility.

“The last time we beat England here, the opening pair was Kraigg and John Campbell. Let’s hope that’s a good omen for us because they gave the team some good starts. We’ve been talking about getting a good start and making sure that the top four put things together and not leave it for the middle and lower order,” Simmons said.

“That’s been the focus of our camp leading up to this series. We need batsmen to bat long so the bowlers can have something to work with and I think the camp went well so I expect good things from them.”

The absence of James Anderson and Stuart Broad from the England team has been a big talking point ever since their squad was announced, but Simmons says he is more interested in who they do have.

“We keep harping on no Broad and Anderson but when you don’t have the experience, you have young players who are hungry to make their name and that is something that you have to guard against too. They have quality bowlers who we still have to bat well against,” he said.

Simmons also spoke about the importance of having one specialist spinner in their squad, Veerasammy Permaul.

“Your spinner, at least in the first couple of days, will always play that holding role. Permaul has been bowling really well so, hopefully, by the time we get to the fourth day he will come into play and possibly be a match-winner for us,” Simmons said.

Simmons also mentioned the conditions he expects at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.

“It looks like it’s going to be a good wicket. We’re going to have to work hard for our runs but also work hard for our wickets,” he said.

At the conclusion of the Test match, the teams move on to the Kensington Oval in Barbados for the second Test set to start on March 16. The final Test is scheduled to be played at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada beginning on March 24.

 

 

 

 

Cricket icons Sir Vivian Richards and Lord Ian Botham unveiled the new Richards-Botham trophy which will be won by the victors in Test Series between West Indies and England Men’s Team.

The trophy pays tribute to two all-time greats – whose rivalry and friendship embodies the close relationship and mutual respect between the two sides. The unveiling ceremony was held on Sunday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua ahead of the first Apex Test match which starts on Tuesday, March 8.

The sparkling new trophy symbolizes “Courage. Friendship. Respect” – values that represent the Test cricketing rivalry between West Indies and England, and of two legends who best define them – Sir Vivian Richards and Lord Ian Botham.

It has an ultra-modern design and consists of an upside-down cup, based on a Georgian rummer, with the joining sphere a cricket ball. One end is a rummer for drinking rum and the other a wine/ale goblet. The rummer has palm fronds and the ale cup has willow leaves. The ceremonial idea is that the winning team holding the trophy would have the rummer that represents their team face upward while they held it and it would be ceremoniously turned over when the other team wins.

Test matches between these two rivals date back to 1928 when West Indies made their first trip to England. The teams, under the captaincy of Kraigg Brathwaite and Joe Root, will renew the rivalry with the Apex Test Series.

“It’s a truly special feeling to have the fantastic trophy named in honour of my great friend Ian and myself. We played a lot together and built a great friendship on and off the cricket field,” said Sir Vivian. “As I said earlier, I am truly delighted to know that the game that I have shown my love for all my life is naming such a prestigious award in recognition of what I managed to achieve. It’s a beautiful trophy and I want to again thank everyone who came up with this idea and contributed to its creation."

Botham said he was honoured to have a trophy in his name.

“It’s a great idea and a truly lovely trophy. It really stands out and I’m honoured to have my name on the trophy alongside my friend Sir Viv,” he said.

“The captain who picks up the trophy at the end of the upcoming series will be a happy man.”

Meanwhile, West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite said he was eager to get going on Tuesday in what he expects to be a closely contested series.

“We’re really excited and ready for the upcoming Apex Test Series against England. This is going to be an amazing three weeks of cricket,” Brathwaite said.

“It’s extra special too that we’re playing for the new Richards-Botham trophy, a fitting tribute to these two great men. We want to be the first team to get our hands on it and celebrate with our fans.”

England’s captain Joe Root believes the trophy named in honour of the two greats is a fitting tribute to the rivalry between the two teams.

“Test series between England and West Indies are iconic, and to have a trophy named after arguably the two most outstanding England and West Indies cricketers of all-time in Lord Ian Botham and Sir Vivian Richards is a fitting tribute for this great rivalry. We are enthused about the next month of competition, and we hope to make the England fans proud by lifting the Richards-Botham trophy,” he said.

The Apex Test Series will feature three Test matches. The first at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, the second Apex Test will be played at Kensington Oval, Barbados from March 16-20, with the climax in the third Apex Test at the Grenada National Stadium, Grenada on March 24-28

James Anderson and Stuart Broad are the most successful pace bowling duo in the history of Test Cricket with 1,177 wickets in 321 matches between them.

Against the West Indies, the pair has 160 wickets in 41 matches. With that being said, many were surprised when the England squad for their three-match Test series against the Windies was announced with Broad and Anderson nowhere to be found.

West Indies pace bowler Kemar Roach was no exception.

“Quite surprising,” Roach said in a pre-match press conference on Saturday.

“I thought that both of them would definitely still be involved but decisions have been made on that end,” he added.

Obviously, the absence of the two is a big plus for the Caribbean side, a sentiment Roach also shared.

“I think it’s a slight advantage for us, obviously with those experienced players missing so there’s a hole for England to fill. Robinson, Wood, and Woakes are fantastic bowlers and we take them seriously but once we get our plans right, I think we’ll be in good shape going into this series.”

Since his debut in 2009, Roach has taken 231 wickets in Test cricket with England being his favourite opponent as 50 of those have come against them.

“For me, England is our biggest series. We play the most test matches against England, having three, so, at home, obviously, there’s a confidence factor and you want to perform well against England. I’m always looking to go hard and put on my best performances against them.”

Roach will, hopefully, have his chance to add to those 50 wickets when the teams square off in the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in Antigua starting on Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

 

The four-day warm-up match between the CWI President’s XI and England ended in a draw on Friday at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua.

After continuing from their overnight 77-3 in their second innings, the tourists ended up declaring at 164-4 to set the President’s XI a target of 367 to win.

Dan Lawrence (48) and Ben Foakes (44 not out) were England’s main scorers in their second innings.

The President’s XI found themselves in early trouble at 25-4 before eventually ending up 123-7 when play was called off. Keacy Carty (49) narrowly missed out on his second fifty of the game while Jeremy Solozano contributed 32, against two wickets each from Craig Overton, Jack Leach, and Ben Stokes as well as some hostile bowling from Mark Wood.

Final Scores: England 466-6 declared and 164-4 declared, CWI President’s XI 264 all out and 123-7.

England will now turn their attention to the first Test against the West Indies starting on Tuesday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

 

 

England will go into the final day of their four-day warm-up fixture against the CWI President’s XI in a commanding position.

Then tourists ended day three on 77-3 in their second innings, a lead of 279 runs on the President’s XI. Zak Crawley (34), Alex Lees (10) and Ben Stokes (19) are the batsmen out for England with Shermon Lewis, Bryan Charles and Colin Archibald getting the wickets.

Earlier, the CWI President’s XI resuming from their overnight 48-2, were eventually bowled out for 263 to trail the touring English by 203 runs on first innings.

The bulk of the scoring was done by Barbadian all-rounder Raymon Reifer, who scored a well-compiled 103.

Reifer’s hundred came off 183 balls and included 15 fours and two sixes.

Keacy Carty also added 57 for the President’s XI against 4-62 off 28 overs from left-arm spinner Jack Leach and 2-26 off five overs from the off-spin of Dan Lawrence.

Cricket West Indies President Ricky Skerritt has paid tribute to Sonny Ramadhin, the legendary spin bowler who passed away at age 92.

Ramadhin was an outstanding match-winner and formed a famous partnership with left-arm spinner Alf Valentine throughout their careers. They were a crucial part of the team which led West Indies to a famous 3-1 series win against England in 1950. Ramadhin had remarkable match figures of 11 wickets for 152 runs in the historic win at Lords – West Indies first Test match win in England.

“On behalf of CWI, I want to express our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Sonny Ramadhin, one of the great pioneers of West Indies cricket. Mr Ramadhin made an impact from the moment he first stepped onto the field of World Cricket,” Skerritt said.

“Many stories are told of his tremendous feats on the 1950 tour when he combined with Alf Valentine to form cricket’s ‘spin twins’ as West Indies conquered England away from home for the first time. This iconic tour is part of our rich cricket legacy, which was pioneered by Mr Ramadhin and others of his generation.

“His English exploit was celebrated in a famous calypso – and is still remembered more than 70 years later. Today we salute Sonny Ramadhin for his outstanding contribution to West Indies cricket.”

Ramadhin was born in Trinidad on May 1, 1929. He made his Test debut against England at Old Trafford in 1950 in the team alongside the legendary Three Ws, Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Everton Weekes and Sir Clyde Walcott.

 He played 43 Test matches and took 158 wickets at an average of 28.98 each. His best bowling figures were 7-49 against England at Edgbaston in 1957. Overall, he played 184 first-class matches and captured 758 wickets at 20.24 each.

 

-ENDS-

West Indies Under-19s will play Papua New Guinea Under-19s on Wednesday in Trinidad & Tobago in a quarter-final of the ICC Men's Under-19 Cricket World Cup Plate Tournament.

Antigua and Barbuda minister of sport, Daryll Matthew, insists the country’s preparations to host matches for the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup remains on track, despite concerns being raised in recent weeks.

The matches for the tournament will be played in Antigua, Guyana, Saint Kitts, and Trinidad.  Antigua has been earmarked to host the Super League quarter-finals, semi-finals the finals, in addition to the 3rd, 5th, and 7th place playoffs.

The main venues that will be used are the Coolidge Cricket Ground and the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium but there have been questions asked about the state of some of the practice grounds with the tournament set to bowl off on January 14.

 Two of the venues of concern are the Liberta Sports Club and the Police Recreation Ground.  At Liberta, issues were recently brought to the fore regarding the reconstruction of a section of the facility’s fencing and work for the bathrooms.

Matthew insists there is no need to worry, however, as the government fully intends to honour its commitment.

“I just want to assure the public of Antigua and Barbuda that all of the venues will be ready. We’re almost there in terms of our readiness to host what is probably the largest international cricket event on our shores and the nation will be proud,” Matthew told the Antigua Observer.

“The major area of work that needs to be done [in Liberta] is one part of the fencing and so you can be assured that those things will be completed because it is part of our hosting requirement and so we do not have the option to not do it,” he added. 

The ICC Under-19 World Cup will take place between 14 January – 5 February.

“We’re actually hosting the quarterfinals, semifinals, and the finals for the Under-19 World Cup, and immediately following that we will be hosting the Test series with England, the Richards-Botham series and so we will be hosting a four-day warm-up match and then go right into the first Test so for the next eight to 10 weeks we should be having a substantial amount of cricket here in Antigua and Barbuda.”

There will be free entry to watch cricket’s future stars in the ICC Under 19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2022, starting on January 14.

Many athletes have expressed their joy after competing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. They have done so through their social media pages and interviews.

 Antigua’s Joella Lloyd is one such athlete. She competed in the women’s 100 metres where she comfortably won heat 3 of the preliminary round in a time of 11.55 seconds. She then went on to finish 7th in heat1 with a slightly improved time of 11.54 seconds. That heat was won by the USA’s Teahna Daniels while Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith came second and Murielle Ahoure from the Ivory Coast finished third.

 Via her Instagram account, she posted a photo of herself waving at the start of her race with the caption, “Walking out and lining up for the 100m at the Tokyo Olympics was everything I dreamt it would be.”

 She then expressed gratitude to all those who supported her throughout the season.

 The caption ended, “All the love and encouragement has not gone unnoticed and I’m extremely grateful for it. It was a pleasure representing Antigua and the Vols on the big stage. Antigua, I love y’all plenty plenty and we’ll be back at it next year!”    

The Olympic Games serve as the world’s biggest showcase of sporting talent.

For the Caribbean region, when we hear Olympics, the sport we mainly think about is track & field.

With the region’s rich and storied history of success in the sport, gold, silver and bronze medals are often used to measure the success of respective athletes.  It is, however, far from the only stand.

For some countries, having a representative on the biggest global track & field stage in the world is worth just as much or more than any individual medal.

Antigua & Barbuda is one of those countries and the athlete who has represented them the best on the big stage is sprinter Daniel Bailey.

Bailey, the 100m sprint specialist, has represented his nation in four Olympic Games and five World Championships.

His best result came at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany.

The headliners were Olympic champion and world record holder Usain Bolt and defending double sprint champion from the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Tyson Gay.

In the fastest race in history, Bolt ran 9.58 to destroy the world record, Gay ran an unbelievable 9.71 to finish second and Asafa Powell finished third in 9.84.

Bailey just narrowly missed out on a historic medal for Antigua & Barbuda, finishing fourth in that race with a time of 9.93.  It wasn’t his first major championship appearance, but it was also when Bailey became a household name in men’s sprinting.

However, Bailey’s first time representing Antigua and Barbuda on the biggest stage of global athletics came five years earlier in 2004.

As a 17-year-old, he carried the flag for his country during the opening ceremony of the Athens Olympics. It is a memory he will carry with him forever.

“I was elated. I was really, really excited to be holding the flag for my country Antigua & Barbuda. A couple of days before, we had a meeting to decide who would do it and when they shouted my name and said ‘Daniel Bailey, you’re going to hold the flag’, it was a special feeling because I know how much it meant for an upcoming athlete to be holding the flag for his nation,” Bailey said.

To put that into perspective, he carried the flag at those Olympics just one month after competing at the World Junior Championships in Grosseto, Italy where he finished 4th in the 100 metres in a time of 10.39.

At those Athens Olympics, Bailey finished 6th in his 100 metres heat in 10.51.

Four years later, at the Beijing Olympics, Bailey, then 21, was again the flag bearer.

During the Games, he advanced to the quarter-finals after finishing second to Bolt in 10.24 in the preliminary round.

Bailey then ran 10.23 to finish 4th but failed to advance from his quarterfinal, a race which saw him lined up against Jamaica’s former world record holder Asafa Powell and American Walter Dix, who eventually won the bronze.

A year after those Olympics would see Bailey enter the prime of his sprinting career.

He would finish 4th at the 2009 World Championships and then fifth at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu.

On July 17, 2009, in Paris, Bailey ran a personal best and an Antiguan national record of 9.91.

Bailey then carried his nation’s flag at the third straight Olympics in London 2012 where he competed in the 100 metres.

Running in heat 4, against Bolt once again, Bailey would run a time of 10.12 to finish 2nd   and advance to the semi-finals.

Bailey then lined up against Bolt, American Ryan Bailey and  Richard Thompson, the silver medallist from the 2008 games in his semi-final.

He finished 6th in that race in 10.16 and failed to reach the Olympic final once again.

Bailey admits that he had entered into those Olympics with high hopes but suffered some setbacks along the way.

“I had it in my mind to make my first Olympic final. I was really working hard that year and then I got an injury that set me back a little bit. The first week I got to London I caught a bad flu, and it took a toll on my body. I got eliminated in the semi-finals, but I think my overall performance was good based on what was happening.” 

Fast forward four years to the 2016 Rio Olympics and Bailey became one of the few athletes in history to ever be their country’s flag bearer at four straight Olympic Games opening ceremonies.

That year, he competed in Heat 2 of the men’s 100 metres and finished 2nd in 10.20 behind eventual silver medallist Justin Gatlin and advanced to the semi-finals.

He was then slated to appear in semi-final 3 but did not show up for the start due to injury.

Bailey may not have had the medal haul of many Caribbean greats but he has competed at the highest level of the sport for more than a decade and is a role model for sprinters hailing from smaller Caribbean islands like his native Antigua & Barbuda.

“You have to love it and enjoy it,” were Bailey’s words of wisdom for a new generation of up-and-coming athletes.

“My word to the up-and-coming athletes is to go for your goals. Whatever you believe in, nobody can stop that. Always work hard and smart and remember that dedication is the key to success at all times.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antigua and Barbuda Head Coach Mikele Leigertwood has praised his team for the quality of their play that saw them go unbeaten in the latest round of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers and go top of Group A over El Salvador and Grenada.

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