North Windward takes 20/20 title
February 3, 2006

North Windward takes 20/20 title

North Windward are the first winners in the Bottlers Limited 20/20 Cricket competition. They earned the title with a comfortable 31 run win over Central Windward in the final last Sunday.

North Windward reached 95, dismissed in the final delivery of the 20 over allotment. Parnel Browne 27, was the top scorer for North Windward. He maintained a level of consistency, which helped his team out of a potentially sticky situation in the final, and indeed maintained his display from earlier encounters. {{more}}Roland Wilkinson 4 for 13, supported by Dilorn Johnson 3 for 21 were wicket takers for Central Windward in what was believed to be a reasonable effort. Some dropped caches may have botched the team’s effort, and the 95 was considered attainable for Central Windward.

But the North Windward players engendered a sense of purpose, and spurred by one time Windwards’ allrounder Othniel Baptiste, with figures of 5 for 8, Central Windward folded for 64 off 15.5 overs. Osni Billingy 18 led the Central Windward batting, but support for him was lacking.

O’Neil Thomas, captain of the victorious North Windward squad, attributed the success to “team effort.” He noted that the talent was there, and that there were no big names. He emphasised the contribution made by each player. North Windward indeed boasts a number of players who have made an impact on the national scene. But Thomas pointed out that that with Arnos Vale being unavailable because of preparations for World Cup 2007, it was difficult for North Windward players to keep up with practice sessions for national selection.

Thomas represented St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the senior national level, as did Nicolas Lavia, and Othneil Baptiste. Lauron Francois played for the Windwards in the Under 19 West Indies tournament staged here last year.

“We need to take cricket in the rural areas,” Thomas said. He mentioned that enthusiasts played road cricket to maintain their interest in the game. This, he declared, was a form of recreation. The catchment area for North Windward’s is from Caratal in Georgetown to Fancy.

The final revealed a swing in cricket dominance to the windward area. Central Windward also boasted a number of past and current national players. The charge was led by Windward’s legspinner Orlanzo Jackson, and included Youth player 2005 Dilorn Johnson, his brother, former national opener Delroy Johnson, opening batsman Kevin Jessop, and allround batsman Roland Wilkinson.

“We didn’t apply ourselves,” Jackson sighed.

He grieved over some chances missed by his team, but commended North Windward.

“They played well. They fielded well, they took their catches, they deserved to win,” Jackson said.

This is the first 20/20 competition here. The tournament began last year and was part of the 26th Independence anniversary package. However, it was interrupted owing to general elections, held December 7, 2005.

Interest in that type of cricket has heightened with an injection of funds by Texan businessman Alan Stanford.