By ZAID MOHAMMED
ALLROUNDER Jaden Leacock was adjudged the Most Valuable Player when the curtain came down on the 2019 Cricket West Indies Under-17 Regional Tournament on Saturday in Trinidad and Tobago.
Leacock’s match-winning performances with the ball earned Barbados their second consecutive win in the tournament with three victories in five matches. They ended on 19.9 points.
In second place was Jamaica, with a similar win record but with one defeat which gave them 15.1 points, while the Leeward Islands finished third with 13.3 points.
At a prize-distribution function on Saturday night at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba, Leacock shared the spotlight with fellow Barbadian Nimar Bolden who took the Best Wicketkeeper award after snaring eight dismissals in the eight-day tournament.
His closest rivals were Carlos Bowen Tuckett of the Leeward Islands who finished with six dismissals (four catches and two stumpings); and Jose Northover of Jamaica with six catches behind the stumps.
Also grabbing pride of place were the Windward Islands pair of Tyran Theodore, who emerged as the leading wicket-taker with 14 scalps; and Teddy Bishop, the tournament’s leading batsman with 149 runs, with also the tournament’s highest score of 96.
Just nosed out for the batting and bowling prizes were Kevin Wickham of Barbados whose run aggregate was 119, while Jaden Carmichael bagged 11 wickets.
Among those who attended the awards function were president of the T&T Cricket Board Azim Bassarath; first vice-president Arjoon Ramlal; second-vice-president Kerwin John; Deputy Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs Denise Arneaud; Director of Sports Patrice Charles; Dudnath Ramkessoon, Cricket Operations Officer; and Debra Coryat-Patton, an Independent Member of the Cricket West Indies Board of Directors.
The T&T Cricket Board was warmly praised for the smooth running of the competition, which though slightly affected by seasonal rainfall, produced exciting cricket with the winner only being determined on the final day.
Speaking at the function, Graeme West, CWI’s High-Performance Director, who was in Trinidad for the entirety of the Under-17 tournament, said he was very impressed with the standard of cricket displayed by the teams.
He said it was evident that the cricketers were well-drilled and supported by their respective technical staff for the tournament which reflected the new direction that CWI is moving in by great emphasis on physical fitness.
West, an Englishman, said that physical conditioning is one aspect of a cricketer’s game that he has control over and which he should take full responsibility for as it underpins his potential selectability and readiness for regional and international competition.
He told the youngsters that what will make them stand out from the pack is their determination to make a difference playing to their best under pressure by constructing match-winning performances with the bat, ball and in the field.
He highlighted his observation that the ball dominated the proceedings in the 2019 tournament suggesting that there was a batting deficit across the board which will feature prominently when the strengths and weaknesses are being assessed by CWI.
West stated that though all the cricketers who participated in the tournament will not progress to playing for the West Indies at the senior level, those who do not should explore the numerous other opportunities that are available in the game.
Tyran Theodore receives an award from Debra Coryat-Patton CWI director for taking the most wickets.