Over 150 teams to challenge for honours

GCB/ National Secondary Schools Cricket League

In its drive to develop and promote cricket throughout the country the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) has for the second successive year set off on a journey to ensure the game is played at the school level.
Yesterday the entity launched the second edition of the National Secondary Schools Cricket League (NSSCL) at the GCB office. More than 150 schools in the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) Zone and District format have been targeted to participate in this phase of the tournament toward realizing an overall winner.

The League is a knock out tournament where the losers will exit the competition immediately. This format will witness an inter school competition within 20 zones/district across the country. The zones matches will then progress to an inter district format, and then national finalist. This same structure shall be employed for the selection of better players within the zones and district. Zones/District, for which there shall be winning zone and district teams. The zones and districts that will be involved in the league are: Corentyne, Lower Corentyne, New Amsterdam/Canje, West Berbice, Lower East Coast Demerara, Upper East Coast Demerara, North Georgetown, South Georgetown, East Georgetown, East Bank Demerara, High Way, Upper Demerara, West bank Demerara, West Coast Demerara, East Bank Essequibo, Wakenaam, Leguan and Essequibo Coast.

At the launch which took place in the Guyana Cricket Board Secretariat on Regent Road, Territorial Development Officer (TDO) of the GCB, Colin Stuart indicated that the launch follows the conclusion of one of the GCB’s most prestigious league, that of the Jaguars three-day League. “While that league took on a semi-professional nature, where players were paid for their duties, the NSSCL is perceived as very significant, in that it forms a valuable instrument from which the GCB can begin to assess players’ talent and to implement strategies geared at their development. These strategies may include directing players to clubs close to their homes or schools, and to involve them in progressive empowerment programs”, detailed Stuart.
The former West Indies fast bowler indicated that the league is viewed as invaluable, – irreplaceable, so much so, as it involves a good mix of experience and novices players. It was posited that last years’ league enjoyed participation of such experienced players, such as national youth player Ashmead Nedd.
According to Stuart an examination of the 2015/2016 NSSCL, found that a number of players from this school league went on to participate in Inter Association and Inter County tournaments.
Subsequently, President of the GCB, Drubahadur in his remarks, thanked the school for their overwhelming support to the NSSCL. He indicated that the progress that the GCB is making in the development of players could not be possible without their valuable support. He commended the Ministry of Education, the Allied Arts Unit, the National Sports Commission, and the Child Care and Protection Agency, for the continued sterling contribution to sports, in particular cricket.
The President also thanked Digicel for their valuable sponsorship during the 2015/2017 period GCB/NSSCL and encouraged them and other corporate sponsors to get on board with the GCB’s progressive cricket development program.
Minister of Sports, Nicolette Henry commended the organisers, the sponsors and all other stakeholders, who made the competition possible. The  Minister informed the gathering that her ministry firmly believes that extra-curricular activities such as music and sport in any form plays an integral part in helping us to produce well rounded students and the rebirth of cricket in the school system is a most welcomed one. She said her Ministry is in full support of the initiative and pledge support for the event, stating they will provide any assistance that is necessary.
Henry concluded by encouraging all the participating team to play positive. “To all the teams participating, I encourage you to play attractively, positively and ensure that there is high quality competition, and of course, may the best team win.”
The administrator of the National Sports Commission, Gurvey Harry shared his experience as a school cricketer while giving guidance by encouraging students to make full use of the opportunity provided to them. He also highlighted the fact that many sports personalities are able to enjoy lucrative careers.
Orette Francois of the Child Care and Protection Agency indicated the significant role the agency is playing in supporting the GCB in delivery coaching programmes and competitions to players in a safe and fair environment. He emphasized the nature of the collaborative programs over the two years and said that the Child Care and Protection Agency looks forward to assisting the GCB to set policy driven standards.
The secretary of the GCB, Anand Sanasie indicated that the feat of the GCB is no easy task, and acknowledged the supportive role that the National Sports Commission is making, along with corporate Guyana to ensure that cricket in Guyana is developed and promoted in the best possible way. Sanasie opined that the GCB will continue to assess and examine ways in which the Guyana Cricket Board can broaden its delivery of service in manner that is meaningful and productive. He encouraged the schools and players to make full use for the opportunity provided to them, and simultaneously thanked them for their continued participation and support.
Once again the mother Board of cricket in Guyana has hit the hammer on the right nail with the continuation of the school challenge. However, the Board should consider coaching programmes prior to the tournament so the new or weaker schools could be more competitive. Secondly, the tournament should be done on a round robin format to have a better look at players’ development. Next, besides talent spotting by the GCB, they should collaborate with the clubs around the country so their representatives could also be present at the matches to encourage the players to join the club or give them free membership to help build back club live in Guyana.
The tournament gets underway today with two matches in the city. It will start with each team facing 30 overs per side before advancing to 50 overs per side to the latter part of the tournament.
At the Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) Ground Bourda, The Business School will face The Bishops’ High School while at the Demerara Cricket Club (DCC) Ground St. John’s College will tackle St. George’s High School.
Chase Academic Foundation, which possesses a very strong unit are the reigning champions.

(guyanatimes)

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