In a tantalising and sizzling affair, the inaugural Regional Democratic Council (RDC)/ Lloyd Britton/ Devcon Construction/ Regional Executive Officer (REO) Region Four Inter-Secondary Schools Tournament came to an end when Diamond Secondary defeated Annandale Secondary in a tense and captivating final played at the Everest Cricket Club ground.
The match, which was watched by third and fourth placed teams Hope and Friendship Secondary schools, students of other schools that competed, and finals and supporters of their teams, saw those in attendance being treated to excellent cricket, with both teams evidently seeking to capture the coveted title.
Taking first strike, Annandale bounced back from a slow start to post 145-5 from 35 overs, the maximum number of overs in their first innings. Diamond Secondary made it to 146-8, declaring in 30.3 overs to draw the match. Diamond won by virtue of first innings lead.
As the match came to its end, Diamond required all but four runs, while Annandale needed two to secure the first innings lead and ultimately the match, but Alex Singh edged one past the keeper, and it raced to the boundary on the blazing outfield, sending the large crowd in uproar.
At the presentation ceremony, initiator of the competition, Lloyd Britton, stressed the importance of such competition. He recollected past years when competitions were regular features among a number of secondary schools. He gave the assurance to the REO, Ms Pauline Lucas, players and other sponsors that he would be supporting the competition again; and he urged other regions to emulate the example that has been set by the REO, and the Region by extension.
“This is a great initiative, and I am happy to have been involved. I would like to guarantee that, come next year, I will be here again,” he said to loud applause from the players.
Another Sponsor, Nolan Lancaster of DEVCON Construction, stressed he was very happy to have played a role in the competition, and pointed out that there are still a number of gentlemen who are playing cricket. He reminded the players that while winning is important, they must understand that a number of social skills, values and qualities can and would be enhanced and further developed through the sport; thus he urged them to remain disciplined.
“I urge you to be disciplined, to be committed, and to be dedicated, as these qualities will certainly boost your character, and ultimate personality, as you continue to develop yourself,” he said.
REO Pauline Lucas also complimented the teams for their stellar performances, while thanking those who showed their support and dedication to make the event a success.
She repeated sentiments echoed by Regional Education Officer Tiffany Favourite-Harvey: that the competition will return next year; and she promised more prizes and an increased number of teams.
In Annandale’s innings, Diamond skipper Philip McTurk removed Evald Hendricks in the third ball of the match, while Chandrapaul Ramraj and man of the match, Mahendra Singh, added 44 for the second wicket and laid the platform for the innings.
Ramraj, who is slated for inclusion in the West Indies Youth Team in the upcoming tour of England, was bowled by Rondel Kattow for 13; but Singh went on to raise his half century, his second of the tournament, adding 57 runs for the third wicket with skipper Daniel Prashad.
Prashad was run out by Anil Singh as he scampered a single on his way to 32.
The man of the match also shared in a 40-run collaboration with Guyana youth player Romel Datterdeen as Diamond struggled to pick up wickets. Datterdeen edged a very weak delivery to Mavindra Dindyal, who was awarded as the best wicket keeper in the competition.
In Diamond’s innings, Dindyal, adjudged most valuable player of the tournament, looked solid, but slashed a wide delivery into the hands of John Roopnarine and marked the player of the match’s first wicket.
Wickets kept tumbling as no one looked as if they were going to spend long at the crease; except McTurk, who came in at three and top scored with 35.
Krnsa Singh, lower down the order, battled after McTurk departed for a spirited 23, but when he was bowled by Yudister Persaud, the crowd was silenced and people began to bite their nails. Mahendra Singh returned to cap off a splendid match with figures of 4-19.
In the end, a number of other players were awarded for their outstanding performances, including Pradesh Balkishun of Bladen Hall Secondary, who smacked the highest total, 139, and had the highest aggregate; while Covent Garden’s Scott Singh copped the most wickets and best bowling figures of 7-12.
The teachers of Friendship and Annandale Secondary schools were awarded the leadership award for their sterling and impressive services during the competition, while the most disciplined team award was shared between Lancaster and Hope Secondary schools.
The participating schools recognised sponsors Alex Mahaica of SKI Construction, Nolan Lancaster of DEC+VCON, and initiator of the competition, Lloyd Britton; while they also gave a special award to the REO for what they deemed her sterling, significant, continuous, and dedicated support to sport and youth development within the region.
The awards to the sponsors were for their continuous, significant, devoted and remarkable support to youth development and empowerment within Region Four.