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CPL releases match schedule

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 14:14

T&T will host the final of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) at the Queen's Park Oval, Port-of Spain on July 26.

The 33-match CPL schedule, which was released today, will see games taking place in Barbados, St Lucia, St Kitts, Jamaica and Guyana. 29 of the 33 are night games.

Champion Barbados Tridents will face runners-up Guyana Amazon Warriors in the contest opener at the Kensington Oval, Barbados on June 20.

All six teams—Tridents, Warriors, the Jamaica Tallawahs, the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, the St Lucia Zouks and the T&T Red Steel—play 10 games in the regular season, with two semi-finals and a final to decide who will be crowned 2015 champions.

The CPL prize money helped attract some a crop of players that includes Shahid Afridi, Jacques Kallis, Kevin Pietersen, Shoaib Malik, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Daniel Vettori, Lasith Malinga and Martin Guptill, according to a CPL release issued today.

"West Indian superstars Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Marlon Samuels, Andre Russelland Jason Holder are also all involved in CPL15, with last year's global audience of 65 million expected to be surpassed," the release said

"I am thrilled that so many quality players from within the Caribbean and around the world have been attracted to play in the CPL this season," the release quotes CPL CEO Damien O'Donohoe as saying.

More schedule and ticketing information is available at the official CPL website www.cplt20.com.

KKR might pull out of IPL if Narine is not allowed to play

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 23:45

MUMBAI—With just nine days to go for the start of the eighth edition of the IPL, there is controversy in the air. The defending champions, Kolkata Knight Riders are on a collision course with the BCCI regarding off-spinner Sunil Narine’s participation in the tournament. 

Narine was banned for his suspect action during the 2014 Champions League Twenty20 and he could not play in the final against the Chennai Super Kings, which KKR lost by eight wickets. 

He was not picked for the West Indies tour to India in November and he opted out of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. He modified his action and was cleared by the ICC during his biomechanical test in Loughborough. 

However, in Narine’s case, the ICC did not organise the test as he was not called during an international match. He was called during the Champions League Twenty20, a tournament that is run by the BCCI. 

According to the rules in the BCCI, since he was called for a second time, he was banned from bowling in any BCCI-organised tournament. 

The BCCI has refused to accept the report submitted by the ICC and has insisted the off-spinner undergoes another round of testing at the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai. 

However, according to sources, KKR is contemplating legal action against the BCCI. Reports also say that if Narine is not allowed to play in the IPL, KKR might pull out of the tournament. 

The team is pointing out that since the bowler was cleared by the ICC, there is no need for a second test and the management is firm that it will not force Narine to undergo another test. The team has met BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya and have told him that Narine has been ‘targeted’. 

They pointed out that Narine was not called for chucking during the IPL but his action was suddenly found illegal in two consecutive matches in the CLT20. 

Dalmiya’s office has confirmed that the matter has reached the president’s table and that a decision could be taken in a day or two. KKR chief executive officer Venky Mysore has refused to confirm or deny the reports about his team speaking to Dalmiya. 

Meanwhile, in another development, KKR have gotten in Johan Botha and Azhar Mahmood as replacements for Chris Lynn and Jimmy Neesham. Neesham will miss the IPL due to a stress fracture in his back while Lynn is in doubt for the whole tournament due to a hamstring injury.

Barbados to host World Cricket Festival

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 23:40

BRIDGETOWN—The Golden Oldies World Cricket Festival, an international tournament for semi-professional and retired players, will be held in the Caribbean in 2017.

Barbados has won the rights to host the festival which will run from May 6-13 in Bridgetown.

Cricket legends, Sir Garfield Sobers and Joel Garner, have joined a delegation to promote the tournament in Cape Town, South Africa, at this year’s edition of the festival.

“What is particularly interesting about having the 2017 Golden Oldies Cricket Festival is that it takes place during the month of May, which allows us to increase arrivals during a traditionally slower month,” said Alvin Jemmott, chairman of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI).

“No less than five hotels are expected to benefit from this event. In addition, our support services—restaurants, attractions, car rentals, nightlife facilities, etc—are expected to gain additional business as the games are structured as a festival allowing participants to adequately enjoy the host country.”

About 600 visitors are expected in Barbados for the festival, a brainchild of cricket enthusiast Peter McDermott.

The Golden Oldies Festival, which has been held in destinations such as Adelaide, Birmingham, Brisbane, Auckland and Sydney is not limited to cricket but also has editions catering to rugby, golf, hockey and netball. (CMC)

Ambrose blames board for WI demise

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 23:39

Legendary West Indies cricketer Sir Curtly Ambrose is laying blame for the collapse of regional cricket squarely at the door of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB). The WICB’s territorial partners, however, did not get away unscathed.

Fielding questions from the audience at yesterday’s start of the 16th Annual Secondary Schools Leadership Symposium held at the Cascadia Hotel and conference Centre in St Ann’s, Port-of-Spain, titled “Think Big, Start Small,” Ambrose said, if regional officials had an uplifting vision for the future of the sport they would have put systems in place to ensure cricket retain pride of place.

“West Indies cricket,” he replied, pausing. “It’s disappointing. When you look back, many years ago, we were the number one team in the world. For 20 years, we were the best team in the world and 15 of those 20 years we never lost a series. That’s unheard of in any sport. Having been part of it, it hurts to the core. I believe that the West Indies Cricket Board and territorial boards have to take most of the blame! Why? Because when we were the best team in the world, nothing was ever done to nurture the talent.”

“We are very talented people. The talent is still there. Our boards sat back and just believed we would forever produce great cricketers. Other nations put things in place…academies and all that stuff and they have caught up with us and they have gone way past us. We need to change our structure and get some things in place to nurture talent and I am quite sure we can do that.” 

Ambrose revealed that in earlier years he did not want to be a cricketer. But that did not stop him from honing his skills to ultimately energise West Indies fans around the world during amazing bowling spells which now characterised his distinguished career.

“Every time I say this, people tend to look at me in a strange way. You have been so successful, (they say) but I must admit I never wanted to be a cricketer. My passion was to be a basketball player. Growing up as a young man I just couldn’t see the fun in playing cricket. Besides, I’m lazy! When I think of five-day cricket, you know…six hours a day for five days, as opposed to 48 minutes on the basketball court? Give me basketball any day… 48 minutes and it’s all over. 

“The second love sport is football. And, I figured if I couldn’t get to be a basketball player, I could be a footballer. But my mother who is such a cricket fanatic always wanted a cricketer in the family. My mother had seven children—four girls and three boys. My oldest brother used to play cricket back in Antigua, before he migrated to the (United) States to be with my father. So naturally, I was second in line and my mother kept telling me start to play cricket. Now, that used to really irritate me. Trying to be an obedient child, I decided for her sake I was going to take up cricket and I was hoping it didn’t work out.”

As fate would have it, he started playing club cricket in Swetes, Antigua, back in 1984. One year later, he was selected for the Antigua national team. In 1986, Ambrose was called to service on the Leeward Islands team.

His quality performances did not escape the attention of the West Indies selectors and 24 months later, he reserved a place on the then world famous West Indies team. As he reflected on his career before a capacity audience, Ambrose could not believe he made such as astonishing climb in just four years, in a sport that was not his first choice, but which earned him the right to be called an international cricketer. 

Ambrose played 98 Test matches for the West Indies and took 405 Test wickets at an average of 20.99 and topped the International Cricket Council (ICC) player rankings for much of his career to be rated the best bowler in the world. 

Reputed to be a man of few words during his career, Ambrose found his voice to enliven then youth constituted audience.

Poking fun at Sport Desk founder and T&T Guardian Sport editor Valentino Singh, the West Indies cricket legend who during his career was described as being notoriously reluctant to speak to journalists, claimed they never wrote what he said. Ambrose was chosen as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1992. On retirement he was entered into the ICC Hall of Fame and was later hailed by an expert panel selected as one of West Indies all-time XI. 

“I am a very, very proud man and everything I do, I want to be the best. When I joined the West Indies team, we were the best team in the world and I never wanted to be the weak link. So I was forced to learn quickly and my pride wouldn’t allow me to be second best,” he said.

“Everything starts with a dream and as young men and women have dreams. We have aspirations. It’s not an easy road. They say nothing in life comes easy. 

“There is a lot of truth to that statement. There will be obstacles you have to get over. Sometimes your own friends and family may discourage you thinking that you are never going to make it. It’s a fact! Let’s be real. It’s the way of the world. Your friends and family sometimes may discourage you from achieving you goals. It’s up to you to stay focused and no matter what, always commit yourself to achieving those goals,” he said.

“Turn those negatives comments into positives. There is nothing sweeter than proving people wrong. Believe me. I know. I will challenge you to set goals. You must know what you want to achieve in life and, you work hard to achieve goals.”

Sleet is forecast

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 23:34

Winn Lily could well spring a surprise in the four-runner Maiden Stakes over five furlongs of Southwell fibresand today; portents for this being third time lucky are obvious.

Three weeks ago Winn Lily was third to unchallenged Tommy Docc over course and distance, half a length behind runner-up, Thunderbird; the former carries 7lbs more today.

David Parkes rode Thunderbird and claimed full apprentice allowance but this time chamion-jockey elect, Luke Morris, has been booked whereas Jacob Butterfield retains the ride on Winn Lily. His current claim is 3lbs.

Obviously Morris is a better proposition but given this is just a straightforward dash, and every pound ‘weighs heavily’ on the unique ‘deep stuff’, Winn Lily will surely reverse placings; what about forecast odds-on favourite, Makin A Statement?

This 72-rated David O’Meara-trained Bahamian Bounty gelding was withdrawn last week on the eve of a first appearance for 164 days when beaten at Cattterick by 12 lengths!

Winn Lily is fit, fancied and worth chancing; betting is all about relating chance to price and this should be interesting.

Incidentally most of my selections are placed and the long-term secret of taking advantage is following up next time out.

Sleet is one of eight ‘decs’ for the ‘aged’ handicap over seven furlongs, sixteenth time lucky?

Judged on yet another genuine effort in a similar race on Wolverhampton Tapeta last week should prevail and I’ll bet he does under Andrew Mullen, now back to his best having undergone hip surgery which laid him low for several months.

Consistency usually brings reward but in the case of Sleet, and plenty like him, it can compromise opportunity because handicappers are loathe drop ‘key’ horses.

On the time-handicap however Sleet, one I’d love to own, personally, is ‘best-in’ and worth backing to recoup so many losses for beleaguered punters.

Sellingallthetime, partnered by 5lbs apprentice, Alistair Rawlinson, must not be opposed in the opening ‘aged’ handicap over 11 furlongs.

Selections 

2.20 Sellingallthetime

2.55 Winn Lily

4.30 Sleet (nap)

Cunupia, Police start with CoC wins

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 23:32

Cunupia FC and Police FC kicked off their bid to gain promotion to the National Super Football League with contrasting opening day victories on Sunday.

At the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella, Stevon Stoute got the winner, four minutes into time added to earn Central Football Association Premier Division champions Cunupia FC, a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Southern Football Association Premier Division winners, Marabella Family Crisis Centre.

Stephan Campbell had given Marabella a 17th minute lead but Jamal Spencer equalized a minute before the half, and just when it looked as though the match would end in a deadlock, Stoute banged home the winner for Cunupia.

And at the St James Police Barracks Training Ground, Long Circular Northern Football Association Premier Division ‘kings” Police swamped Matura Reunited, the Eastern Counties Football Union winners, 3-0.

The other match between Tobago Football Association Premier Division champions Sidey’s FC and Eastern Football Association Premier winners Malta Carib Alcons was rescheduled while matches continue tomorrow (Wednesday)

T&TFA Champion of Champions remaining fixtures

Tomorrow (April 1): Marabella Family CC vs Sidey’s FC, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella, 4 pm

Cunupia Fc vs Matura Reunited, Edinburgh 500 Rec Ground, 6 pm

Malta Carib Alcons vs Police, Maracas Rec. Ground, St Joseph, 6 pm

April 4: Cunupia FC vs Sidey’s FC, Edinburgh 500 Rec Ground, 4 pm

Matura Reunited vs Malta Carib Alcons, Matura Recreation Ground, 4 pm

Police vs Marabella Family CC, St James Police Barracks Training Ground, Long Circular Road, St James, 4 pm

April 8: Malta Carib Alcons vs Cunupia, Maracas Rec. Ground, St Joseph, 6 pm

Matura Reunited vs Marabella Family CC, Matura Rec. Ground, 4 pm

Sidey’s FC vs Police, Speyside Rec. Ground, 6 pm

April 12: Matura Reunited vs Sidey’s, Matura Rec. Ground, 4 pm

Malta Carib Alcons vs Marabella Family CC, Maracas Rec. Ground, St Joseph, 4 pm

Cunupia Fc vs Police, Edinburgh 500 Rec. Ground, 

4 pm.

Sports Minister leads ‘Walk against Crime’

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 23:31

Thousands of pupils from schools in and around the nation's capital made their way from the Queen’s Park Savannah to the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, on Friday, bearing placards and banners as they participated in the Port-of-Spain and Environs “Walk Against Crime/Walk for Sport.”

The event, which kicked off near the Paddock area, began just after 10 am with the arrival of the Minister of Sport Brent Sancho, who met the students and the members of the Port-of-Spain and environs Sports Council. Also in attendance were members of the women’s national football team, including captain Maylee Attin-Johnson, Ahkeela Mollon, School Supervisor III Port-of-Spain and environs, Olson Oliver and School Supevisor I Kathleen Pierre-Holder.

The children chanted, clapped and even danced with teachers as they called for the end of lawlessness.

Some of the smaller ones took breaks in between to have water and snacks, as the walk seemed a little bit more than they had bargained for, but in the end the pupils from all of the participating schools, including Maraval RC School, Carenage Girls' Government Primary School, Hokett Baptist, St Anthony's Girls Primary School, Richmond Street Boys Anglican and Sacred Heart Girls', all made it to the Hasely Crawford Stadium, where they then had a day filled with lots of fun.

Co-ordinator Kelvin Nancoo, thanked the sponsors, Blue Water, Atlantic, Ministry of Sport, the Sport Company, Massy, RBC and the Ministry of National Security for their co-operation in making the walk and sports day, a success. 

“We want to make a difference and this is the start which you need,” said Nancoo. “To all the supervisors, principals, teachers and students who participated, I thank you for making a difference.”

Late morning saw the boys and girls of the district participating in the six-a-side tournament while the netball continued at the Jean Pierre Complex and the day’s activities culminated with the competitive relay festival.

Hokett Baptist delighted Principal Stanley Mahase as they walked away triumphantly with the boys football title when they defeated Diamond Vale Government in the final via penalty kicks. The girls’ football competition was won by Maraval RC who defeated a determined St Barb's unit.

Sacred Heart Girls dominated the relays winning every event from Under-9 to U-15.

Children left the Stadium asking when the next Sports Day will be held stating that the initiative of the Port-of-Spain and environs Sports Council was successful in using sport as a vehicle for change.

Woodley fires Beach Soccer men to quarters

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 23:29

Club Sando striker Kevon “Showtime” Woodley netted a double as T&T whipped Turks & Caicos 6-2 for its second straight Group B win at the Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship in San Salvador, El Salvador on Sunday night. 

Coming off a come-from-behind 8-4 win over Guadeloupe in its opener on Saturday, T&T came up against a Turk & Caicos which was drubbed 8-3 by Mexico at the same Estadio de Futbol Playa. 

And it did not take T&T very long to open its account as former Soca Warriors defender Makan Hislop found the back of the net after only three minutes when his free-kick from some distance took a wicked bounce off the surface and beat hapless goalkeeper Sean O’Neil.

Eight minutes later Woodley, who netted six times in the win over Guadeloupe, got his first of the afternoon tapping in a rebound from close range after O’Neil failed to hold onto a long range effort from T&T captain, Ryan Augustine and three minutes later, goalkeeper Victor Thomas made it 3-0 with a dipping free-kick from inside the T&T half.

However, Thomas’ night ended in the 18th minute after he was harshly shown a red-card for what was deemed a foul on Turks & Caicos Herby Magny to provide his opponents with a chance to get on the scoreboard.

But regular first-choice custodian Zane Coker was in no mood to allow any goals, and parried away Magny’s attempt to preserve a blank sheet. 

T&T the added further goals through Kerwin Stafford in the 23rd from a free-kick, Woodley in the 29th off a rebound from Chad Appoo’s initial effort, and the sixth, a gem of a volley by Augustine to put the result beyond doubt at 6-0.

With time ticking away, Magny got two late goals for Turks & Caicos, both off left footed free-kicks, but it was too little to late to deny T&T a second straight win, and the first quarterfinal spot available to the delight of USA-born coach and former international player Benyam Astorga.

Less than an hour later, T&T, seventh in 2013 was joined by 2008 and 2010 winners, and Group B rivals Mexico in the last-eight after it swept past Guadeloupe 8-1 led by two goals each from Francisco Cari (14th, 33rd), Ramon Maldonado (19th, 24th) and Gerardo Gomez (27th, 34th).

T&T, which had an off day yesterday will face 2013 bronze winners Mexico in their group decider from 10.15 tonight, ahead of the quarterfinals, with the Caribbean boys needing a win to secure the Group B title and avoid one of the major teams in the last-eight clashes. 

Also through to the quarterfinals are Pool A duo, 2009 champions El Salvador and T&T’s Caribbean rivals, Jamaica who both won for a second straight time as well.

This after Jamaica followed up its 7-3 beating of Puerto Rico by outgunning Belize 8-5 while El Salvador, 17-2 victors in Saturday’s opener with Belize blanked Puerto Rico 7-0.

Following today’s final round of round-robin pool matches, the top two teams in each group will advance to the main draw knockout quarterfinals on Thursday, then onto the semifinals and final on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

The top two sides at the Concacaf qualifying event will represent their region at Espinho, Portugal 2015, July 9-19.

Two-time world champions Russia, Spain, Italy and Switzerland have qualified from Europe for the Beach Soccer World Cup.

Results

Sunday

Pool A

El Salvador 7 (Francisco Velasquez 6th, 11th, 18th, 36th, Abraham Henriquez 14th, 32nd, Hebert Ramos 1st) vs Puerto Rico 0

Jamaica 8 (Philip Peddie 6th, 8th, Rohan Reid 15th, 29th, Andre Reid 22nd, 27th, Daemion Benjamin 19th, Gregory Simpson 34th (red 35th) vs Belize 5 (Jeremy James 6th, 10th, 14th, Franz Nunez 1st, John King 22nd) 

Pool B

T&T 6 (Kevon Woodley 11th, 30th, Makan Hislop 3rd, Victor Thomas 13th (red 18th), Kerwin Stafford 23rd, Ryan Augustine 32nd) vs Turks & Caicos 2 (Herby Magny 34th, 36th)

Mexico 8 (Francisco Cari 14th, 33rd, Ramon Maldonado 19th, 24th, Gerardo Gomez 27th, 34th, Adrian Gonzalez 9th, Diego Rodriguez 31st) vs Guadeloupe 1 (Sebastien Hell 21st, (red 31)

Pool D

Guatemala 2 Angel Gomez 16th, Miguel Enriquez 28th) vs Panama 1 (Ricardo Torres 9th)

Costa Rica 12 (Greivin Quesada 16th, 21st, 21st, 33rd, Christian Gonzalez 1st, 29th, William Cruz 3rd, 4th, Danny Hadson 20th, 34th, Alfredo Urea 4th, Jose Mac Adam 12th) vs British Virgin Islands 1 (Adam Fuller 24th)

Today’s matches:

Panama vs US Virgin Islands, 4pm

Barbados vs Antigua & Barbuda, 5.15pm

Guadeloupe vs Turks & Caicos, 6.30pm

Costa Rica vs Guatemala, 7.45pm

USA vs Bahamas, 9pm

Mexico vs T&T, 10.15pm

Step out of your comfort zone

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 23:24

“Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something. You got a dream, you gotta protect it. When people can’t do something themselves, they are going to tell you that you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period.”—Will Smith

There are many people in T&T trying to do good things they work hard and face many obstacles.

As I sat in the ballroom of the Cascadia Hotel on the opening day of the 16th Secondary Schools leadership symposium—Thinking Sport—presented by the Sports Desk- the theme for this year, “Think Big, start small”.

I reflected on the effort many are making. People such as Valentino Singh who for 16 years has been making a positive difference to hundreds of secondary students have benefited from his dream and vision. 

He has been a living testimony to the notion- Think Big, Start small. 

People who think big, start small. He committed himself to an uncertain future. He sacrificed his personal good and security in favour of a greater good.

His mission and that of the Sports Desk—Thinking Sport—has touched many lives.

We sorely need in T&T people who believe the impossible can become a reality, who embrace and respect creativity, innovation and extraordinary. 

Since most of us are comfort centred. We try to continue doing what we know how to do. 

We may think we are pursuing new outcomes, but if achieving them means leaving our comfort zones, we find ways to avoid doing so. We prefer to be liked and be popular, to be with the in crowd. We avoid conflict so that we wouldn’t be put in the naughty corner. But conflict avoidance is really playing the politics of compromise. We go through the motions and in the process lose our uniqueness; we stop being true to ourselves. 

Think big, start small clarifies the results we want to create and causes us to reorganise our lives. Instead of moving away from a problem, we move toward a possibility that does not yet exist. We become more energised, and our impact on others become energising. 

Think big, start small creates the cycle of learning and empowerment. We move forward, hungry to learn something new, even if it makes us uncomfortable. 

It creates positive energy and inspires others to higher levels of performances. Tackling challenges and embracing failure becomes our new normal frame of mind. What previously seemed unimaginable and impossible becomes doable.

We need to build a culture of yes we can and get rid of the culture of No. We need to build a culture of innovation. The world in 2015 is not the same world that it was in the 1990s.

We need to inspire, motivate and empower big ideas, big dreams, and big visions. Accept no limits.

Over the next four days as they do, the Sports Desk-Thinking Sport, will provide yet another cohort of secondary school students with the opportunity to meet, learn from; listen to exemplars of the “Think Big, Start Small” philosophy.

“If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing started with a dream and a mouse.” - Walt Disney.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”—Mark Twain

Think big, start small, fail quickly, scale fast. Diligently prepare for your lucky day!

n Brian Lewis is the president of the T&T Olympic Committee. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the national Olympic committee.

n Support #10Golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund. Make your donation at any branch of Scotia Bank -Account#171188

Whitfield, Williams seal Pan Am v-ball spot

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 23:22

Toco duo, Fabien Whitfield and Daneil Williams earned the right to represent this country at the July Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, after winning their fourth straight T&T Volleyball Federation Beach Volleyball second phase qualifying tournament at Saith Park, Chaguanas, on Sunday.

Overall, it was the ninth win on the trot from as many tournaments this season on local soil for the duo, who ended the first qualifying phase with a 5-0 mark to earn one of two national teams spot to compete at the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Olympic Qualifiers Round One series here in T&T at the end of next month, as well as the Norceca Beach Tour opener spot in Cayman Islands from April 22 to 28. And once again, it was another flawless display by the 2013 NORCECA Tour final-leg bronze medal winners on home soil, as they did not drop a set in any match yet again.

There victories came against David Thomas/Marlon Phillip 21-12, 21-15; Tevin Joseph/Josiah Eccles 21-11, 21-10; Kareem Thomas/Kevin Edwards 21-11, 21-10 and Christian Francois/Simon Blake, 21-12, 21-15.

Just as he did on Saturday, Francois ended in second spot with new partner Blake, the reigning Caribbean Indoor Championship “Most Valuable Player”, in the asbence of Kevin Rivers, with a 3-1 record.

This after they defeated Joseph/Eccles 23-21, 21-14; David Thomas/Phillip 21-15, 21-19; and Kareem Thomas/Kevin Edwards 21-14, 21-14. The teams of Joseph/Eccles and David Thomas/Phillip both failed to show for the scheduled meeting on time. 

However, Joseph/Eccles who have earned the other Olympic qualifying series spot for T&T did get among the win column on the day, beating Kareem Thomas and Kevin Edwards, 30-28, 21-19 while the latter outlasted winless David Thomas/Phillip 20-22, 21-15, 15-12.

In the women’s qualifiers, last week’s double-winners and new playing partners, Ayana Dyette and Malika Davidson continued their impressive start by defeating Elki Phillip and Shenelle Gordon 21-16, 21-13 in the lone match for a fourth straight tournament win from as many outings and the women’s Pan American Games ticket as well .

This after first-stage winners, La Teisha Joseph and Apphia Glasgow, defaulted for a second straight day 

On Saturday, Dyette and Nanjing Youth Olympic and World Youth Championship player, Davidson defeated Elki Phillip/Shenelle Gordon 21-17, 21-14 in their only match as well. Last month, Joseph and Glasgow topped the qualifying series to this country’s lone ticket to the 2015 NORCECA Beach Circuit opener in Cayman Islands from April 22 to 28.

In addition the pair also secured one half of the local women’s team to the Caribbean Zone Volleyball Association’s Olympic qualifiers scheduled for Jamaica next month.

Honore’s Benfica books CEV Cup final spot

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 23:20

Top T&T volleyballer Marc-Anthony Honore and SL Benfica continued their impressive season when they swept their CEV Challenge Cup semifinal series, the second highest European club competition, against Italians Ravenna 2-0 by winning the second-leg on the road on Sunday.

Benfica did not have things all its way though as it found itself in a 0-2 deficit after losing the first two sets, 23-25, 25-27 before storming back to take the next three sets, 25-20, 25-18, 15-10.

In Wednesday’s first-leg encounter before is own home crowd in Lisbon, Benfica won 25-20, 26-24, 25-19 and will now meet NIS Vojvodina in the tournament decider, after the latter swept Stroitel Minsk 25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18 and 23-25, 24-26, 25-22, 25-15, 15-10 in their home-and-away series.

Benfica and his team-mates are also through to the Portugal Volleyball Federation Men’s A-1 Premier Division after sweeping their best-of-five semifinal series against SC Espinho 3-0.

Following a 25-15, 25-17, 25-22 victory in the opener a week ago, Benfica which also defeated SC Espinho to win a record 15th Super Cup earlier in the month, earned a 25-20, 25-22, 23-25, 25-22 victory on the road on Saturday before returning home a day later to seal the series via a 25-19, 25-19, 25-20 thumping.

In the final, Benfica will come up against main rival and regular season champions AJF Bastardo which also made light work of CA Madalena 3-0 after earning a 25-14, 25-20, 24-26, 25-12 victory in the opening tie followed by a 25-20, 25-22, 21-25, 25-18, and 25-18, 25-18, 25-23 victories.

Over in Denmark, former Big South East Port-of-Spain middle-blocker Akim Bushe will continue his debut season with an appearance in the Denmark Volley Ligaen final against Gentofte Volley from April 15. This after Middelfart VK swept Hvidovre.3-0 in their semifinals with 25-19, 20-25, 25-20, 25-16; 23-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-17 and 25-22, 25-19, 25-19 victories while Gentofte Volley downed BK Marienlyst 25-19, 25-20, 25-17; 25-20, 28-26, 25-15 and 25-17, 25-16, 25-27, 25-20.

Over in the Russia Women’s Volleyball Super League, national women’s team pair, Channon Thompson and Sinead Jack and their 14-time champions club, Uralochka NTMK advanced to the semifinals over Dinamo Krasnodar based on more points won in their quarterfinal series which ended at 1-1.

This after Uralochka too the return-leg 25-15, 16-25, 25-16, 19-25, 18-16 after it was beaten in the first-match, 21-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-15, 10-15.

Up next for Thompson and Jack is a semifinal meeting with Dinamo Moskva while regular season champions Dinamo Kazan faces Zarechie Odintsovo.

In the other quarterfinal series. Kazan whipped eight ranked Avtodor-Metar 25-18, 25-20, 18-25, 25-18 and 25-18, 25-23, 25-18; Dinamo Moskva crushed Proton, 25-18, 25-13, 25-11 and 25-18, 25-13, 25-11 while Zarechie Odintsovo, dumped Omichka 25-15, 26-24, 18-25, 25-15; and 25-21, 25-12, 25-16. 

And in the Romanian Women’s Division, former national women’s team captain Krystle Esdelle helped CSM Bucuresti past Explorari Baia Mare 25-21, 25-15, 27-17 and 25-21, 23-25, 25-17, 25-22 in their best-of-three fifth place semifinal.

Stop! In the name of Isis

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 09:47

Bob Dylan, in his drawling, haunting way, released a song-story called Isis in 1976 which was hailed as a lyrical masterpiece about a flawed hero in a spaghetti western-type dreamscape.

“I married Isis on the fifth day of May/

But I could not hold on to her very long/

So I cut off my hair and I rode straight away/

For the wild unknown country where I could not go wrong.”

The Secrets of Isis was a popular television show in the 70s in which an ordinary schoolteacher transforms into the Egyptian goddess to save the world. She was my Saturday morning superhero before Wonder Woman barged in. I knew her magic invocation by heart: “Oh zephyr winds that blow on high, lift me now so I can fly.”

Nowadays, the name Isis can get you fired, profiled, rubbed down, thrown off flights and shunned by all wrong-thinking bullies and paranoiacs out there. Grammar teachers might even be afraid to tell students that “isis’’ is a double copula, meaning the word is appears twice in succession in a sentence.

Isis is the name of the Egyptian goddess of womanly strengths, a feminine icon, adored as a perfect mother and protector. She is the goddess of nature. The name used to mean something powerfully beautiful—now it means a bomb strapped to the chest of a suicide drone.

A New York Home Depot employee says he was fired recently because he has “Isis,” the name of his ex-girlfriend, tattooed on the inside of his lip. 

Kirk Soccorso who got the tattoo four years ago, and must have been living in a cave with no wi-fi, said he had no idea “until just recently” that the acronym stood for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the extremist terrorist group. 

When Soccorso overheard a co-worker using the word he decided to show off his old tattoo. (It’s always a bad idea, by the way, to tattoo names of flames on any body part.) He was then told to go home and not return. His employers say it was not only the tattoo that got him fired.

In Australia, Frank and Sheridan Leskien of Sydney are distraught because their daughter Isis is being tormented at school because of her name. The family wants people to stop referring to the terror group which, monstrously,  has taken responsibility for video-taped beheadings, as ISIS so their daughter and others with the name can live a normal life. Frank Leskien told the Daily Mail that people used to say “What a beautiful name!’’ Now, they just look at him funny and scowl.

In the United States, a woman named Isis Martinez last year started an online petition to reclaim the name.

She is asking people to show support to “save’’ the name, begging the media to “stop calling the terrorists by our name.” The petition has attracted over 46,000 signatures.

Actually, lots of nice famous non-terrorist people are named Isis. Miss Cuba 1954 was Isis Margarita Finlay who participated in the third Miss Universe pageant in California, USA.

Isis Gonsalves, a scholarship-winning attorney, is the eldest daughter of Ralph and Eloise Gonzalves, the prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines and his wife. Her sister is Soleil and her brother is Storm—so they better watch out, because one day some fool might decide to construct a bad-mind group called Soldiers of the League of Extremely Insane Loyalists and Storm could be the code name for an armageddon strike in the eyes of some over-enthusiastic Homeland Security agent at Miami airport.

So because some ugly people are bent on destroying the world, should all girls and women named Isis re-brand themselves? As Martinez said, if she changes her name, the terrorists win.

Dear politicians and media people, just drop the acronym. Type a few more letters, use a few more syllables in the newscasts and speeches and refer to the group by its full destructive name—the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Don’t make it all cute and soundbite-ish.

Terrorists should sound like terrorists. Take a cue from the movies and comic books—all the bad guys have bad guy names like Cobra and El Diablo and Mr Freeze. Don’t soften the face of terror. 

Isis signifies love and beauty, not advanced creepology. Isis is a beautiful, strong, intelligent woman who protects and heals. Isis is just too pretty a name to squander and cheapen on death, destruction and evil.

 

• Send me your thoughts but no suspicious brown paper packages tied up with string at [email protected]

Sir Curtly to address schools symposium today

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 09:45

Legendary West Indies fast bowler Curtly Ambrose, fresh from the ICC World Cup, will deliver the key note address ‘Think Big, Start Small’, at this year’s Secondary Schools Leadership symposium, which starts today at the Ballroom of the Cascadia Hotel and Conference Centre, St Ann’s, at 9.15 am.

The event will be officially opened by Minister of Sport, Brent Sancho, and more than 300 students from secondary schools throughout the country will be exposed to messages, motivational speeches and dialogue with the region’s sporting heroes and icons.

The event, which is in its 16th year, is being hosted by The Sports Desk, and has received support from a number of organisations, including the Sports Company.

Three-time Sportswoman of the year, Cleopatra Borell, is among six women who will take the platform over the four days. The students will also hear from West Indies women’s cricket captain Merisa Aguilliera and national women’s hockey captain Patricia Alexis, as well as Dr Tonya Welch, Miss World 1986 Giselle West and inspirational speaker Patricia Gajadhar.

Former West Indian opener Philo Wallace, and former national cricket captain Daren Ganga will also be among the speakers, as will motivational speaker Don La Foucade.

Among the companies associated with the symposium are: NGC, the Neal and Massy Foundation, Scotiabank, Toyota, TsTT, The Fan Club, McAl, Civil Aviation, Stephenson’s, Coca Cola, First Citizens, Flavorite and the PTSC.

 

About The Sports Desk & Symposium

The Sports Desk is a non-profit organisation. It is the brainchild of Valentino Singh who is the Sport Editor at The Trinidad Guardian. He felt he could improve the lives of young people and journalists through his association with those in the field of sport. The symposium started with about 40 journalists, sport administrators and students in a room at the Trinidad Guardian office at St Vincent Street around 2004. Today, it has grown into one of the most eagerly anticipated events among secondary school students. Its latest achievement is the formation of The Sports Desk Youth Committee which is already making its mark through charitable projects.

The yearly secondary schools leadership symposium takes place for four days at The Cascadia Hotel, St Ann’s where close to 400 students get to interact, listen, seek autographs and most importantly, learn life lessons from some of the top icons in sport and other leading personalities in our country. Each year, more than 500 students register but only about 400 are accepted.

Also, at least 50 students from remote areas such as Cedros, Palo Seco, Rio Claro, Sangre Grande, Manzanilla and Vessigny and Tobago are handpicked by their school principals to represent their schools. These students have the opportunity to spend the four days at the hotel where they develop their leadership skills and build their self-confidence. Many of them also get a first time MovieTowne experience and visit places around the city of Port-of-Spain.

Among the speakers who have been involved in our programme over the years are:   

• Former WI and international cricket legend Courtney Walsh

• Olympic World track medalist Ato Boldon

• Cricket legend Brian Charles Lara

• ESPN analyst and World Cup football star 

   Shaka Hislop

• Olympic swimming icon George Bovell III

• National ambassador and former cricket captain Daren Ganga

• Miss World 1986 Giselle La Ronde West

• Miss Universe 1998 Wendy Fitzwilliam

• Boxing champion Ria Ramnarine

• Attorney Veera Bhajan

Like us on Facebook: @TheSportsDeskTT

Follow us on Twitter: @TheSportsDeskTT

E-mail us: [email protected]

Call us: 868-773-3773 or 868-794-4200

 

Woodley paces beach soccer men past Guadeloupe

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 09:37


Kevon “Showtime” Woodley scored six goals as T&T kicked off its quest for a first ever FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup appearance with a  come-from win 8-4 defeat of Guadeloupe in their Group B Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship in San Salvador, El Salvador yesterday.

Kevin Clairon put Guadeloupe ahead as early as the second minute, when he latched onto a flick on by a team-mate following a long throw out by goalkeeper Paul Zirco, held on a T&T defender and poked the ball past the T&T goalkeeper Zane Coker.

However,  Woodley struck twice for T&T to lead, within seven minutes, first beating goalkeeper Paul Zircon with a diving header from a corner, and seven minutes guiding in a right footer from another corner for a 2-1 T&T lead.

Sebastien Hell then responded for Guadeloupe in the 22nd as he capitalised on a fumble by Coker off a Clairon long range shot to even the match at 2-2.

But Guadeloupe’s joy was short-lived as Woodley of Club Sando and  one of two new faces in the T&T squad put his team back ahead at 3-2 in the 25th, when he collected a pass from Chad Appoo after a quick throw out by Coker, and after juggling the ball on his thigh for a few paces, blasted a left footer past Zircon on his near post.

Three minutes, Guadeloupe replied again this time with Clairon chesting down a thrown in for Marvin Bourgeois to hit home a left footer past Coker for a 3-3 scoreline.

Once again, it was left to Woodley to restore his team’s lead at 4-3, and he did so in style, collecting a long pass with his back to goal, before swining on his right foot and blasting into the roof of the net from an acute angle.

To the disbelief of T&T coach Benyam Astorga, a former USA Beach Soccer World Cup player, Richardson Petit drew Guadeloupe back level at 4-4 within seconds as he cut inside his defender from the restart and unleashed a right footer which took a wicked bounce over the dive of Coker and into the net. 

Woodley was not done yet and after he was on spot to volley home a rebound to put his team back ahead at 5-4 in the 32nd after Chad Appoo’s initial attempt was blocked by a defender.

Former Soca Warriors defender Makan Hislop then provided T&T with a two-goal cushion as he turned in an attempt by a team-mate which was going wide of the mark from close range before Woodley got a sixth item and Kerwin Stafford his first to seal an 8-4 victory.

Last night, T&T faced Turks & Caicos in its second match.

Results:

Saturday:
Pool A:
Jamaica 7 vs Puerto Rico 3 
El Salvador 17 vs Beliz 2 
Pool B:
T&T 8 vs Guadeloupe 4 
Mexico 8 vs Turks & Caicos 3 

Fixtures:

Remaining round-robin fixtures:
Today: 
Guatemala vs US Virgin Islands, 4pm 
Bahamas vs Antigua & Barbuda, 5.15pm
Puerto Rico vs Belize, 6.30pm
Costa Rica vs Panama, 7.45pm
USA vs Barbados, 9pm
El Salvador vs Jamaica, 10.15pm
Tomorrow: 
Panama vs US Virgin Islands, 4pm
Barbados vs Antigua & Barbuda, 5.15pm
Guadeloupe vs Turks & Caicos, 6.30pm
Costa Rica vs Guatemala, 7.45pm
USA vs Bahamas, 9pm
Mexico vs T&T, 10.15pm

 

Whitfield, Williams spike eighth straight victory

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 09:33

Top local men’s beach volleyball pair, Fabien Whitfield and Daneil Williams made it eight straight wins from as many  T&T Volleyball Federation Beach Volleyball tournament when they played unbeaten for an eight straight time as well, without dropping a set at Saith Park Chaguanas on Saturday.

With the win, the Toco-duo are now well ahead in the race to earn this country’s qualification spot for the July Pan Americans Games in Toronto Canada, and on course to end the qualifying series as the lone unbeaten team.

Historic bronze medal winners on the NORCECA Beach Circuit two years ago, Whitfield and Williams have now won all e three qualifying tournaments in the local the Pan American Games qualifying series.

This after they also won all five qualifying tournaments  in the first phase of T&TVF Beach Qualifiers to select the national team to compete at the 2015 Norceca beach Tour opener in Cayman Islands from April 22 to 28, as well as half of the mens national team to compete at the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Olympic Qualifiers round one series here in T&T at the end of next month.

On Saturday, they recorded wins over  Josiah Eccles/Tevin Edwards 21-13, 21-18; Nathaniel Noreiga/Marcus Moore 21-11, 21-2; Kareem Thomas/Kevin Edwards 21-9, 21-15; Christian Francois/Kevin Rivers 21-17. 21-13; and Marlon Phillip/David Thomas 21-13, 21-16.

Francois and Rivers, who have represented T&T on the NORCECA Circuit in the past ended second with a 4-1 mark after winning their other matches, over Kareem Thomas/Kevin Edwards 21-13, 21-13; Phillip/David Thomas 21-13, 19-21, 15-11; Noreiga/Moore 21-0, 21-0 (by default), and Eccles/Tevin Edwards 21-19, 21-12,

Eccles and Edwards, who were second in the first phase of qualification and will also represent T&T at the Olympic Zone qualifiers took third after beating Phillip/David Thomas  21-0, 21-0 (default); Noreiga/Moore 21-2, 21-12, and  Thomas/Kevin Edwards 20-22, 21-18, 15-12,

Phillip/David Thomas had wins over Noreiga/Moore 21-19, 21-18, and Kareem Thomas/Kevin Edwards 21-18, 20-22, 15-8 for a 2-3 record and fourth while Kareem Thomas/Kevin Edwards beat Nathaniel Noreiga/Marcus Moore 21-0, 21-0 (by default) to avoid the cellar spot.

Only two women’s team showed up on the day as NORCECA Beach Tour opener bound La Teisha Joseph and Apphia Galsgow were absent.

In the lone women’s match, last week’s double-winners and new playing partners, Ayana Dyette and Malika Davidson defeated Elki Phillip/Shenelle Gordon 21-17, 21-14. Yesterday the penultimate qualifying tournament was carded to come off ahead of Saturday’s final series at the same venue.

Respecting WI cricket

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 09:32

If the West Indies players needed motivation for their upcoming series against England, the recent arrogant comments of incoming chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Colin Graves should have opened up their appetite for overwhelming success. 

Graves is quoted on BBC news as saying “I ‘d certainly be disappointed if we (England) don’t win the West Indies series, because I am pretty sure the West Indies are going to have mediocre team.” He was even more dismissive of the West Indies when he indicated that failure to defeat the West Indies will result in “some enquiries.” http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/cricket/32037349

Graves’s comments must be addressed from two interrelated perspectives. It must be out rightly condemned and at the same time taken up as a challenge to prove him wrong. 

As much as he would like to stamp his style of leadership on the ECB from May 15, it should not be done in a disrespectful manner at the expense of any country let alone the West Indies. His belittling comments insults the rich history and importance of West Indian cricket to the people of Caribbean and its diaspora world over. There is no denying that West Indies cricket is nothing compared to its glory days of the 1980’s but it is no reason for Graves to be so utterly dismissive.

As the governing body for cricket in the region the WICB should be offended and recently re-elected WICB President Dave Cameron should condemn and demand an apology from Graves. His remarks should not remain unscathed. 

The players of the region should also feel aggrieved and should use every opportunity to demonstrate to Graves that the West Indies is made up of more than ‘six stars’ as he claims. 

The players should all look at ‘Fire in Babylon’ to see how in 1976 the West Indian players responded to the then English captain Tony Grieg comment that “we would make them grovel.” Such a comment was seen as an insult to not only the West Indian players but also to the Caribbean people. Before the end of the series Greig was very regretful for his comments as the English literally felt the leather of ball on their bodies from the four prong pace attack led by Michael Holding and the blade of the West Indian batsmen led by Vivian Richards. 

It was the same ‘mediocre’ West Indies team without ‘three stars’ who reached the quarter-finals of the just concluded ICC World Cup while England were eliminated in the group stage. 

The West Indies have a new coach in Phil Simmons who has received several accolades for lifting Ireland from being a mediocre Associate team to being highly competitive by the end of his eight year tenure as coach. It was an Ireland coached by Simmons who defeated England at the 2011 ICC World Cup in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. And it was also an Ireland coached by Simmons who defeated the West Indies at the 2015 ICC World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. 

Therefore, if there is one surety, Simmons knows how to beat England and he is on the coaching side of the West Indies. As a player there was no questioning of his commitment to the success of the West Indies and the same will be expected of him as a coach. 

The inner desire of the players to succeed plus the inspiration provided by the negative comments by Graves should motivate the West Indies as happened in 1976 to send England packing home well beaten by the same ‘mediocre’ team. Colin Graves will then have the opportunity at the start his stewardship of the ECB responding to his own comments, “If we did not win, I can tell you now there will be some enquiries of why we haven’t.” 

Hopefully, there will be a West Indies series win and the opportunity will be there for him to eat his words and never ever again cast such negativity on the people of the Caribbean. As CLR James would have said, his comments is ‘just not cricket.’

Look for the Druids Nephew

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 09:26

The Druids Nephew came out best-in when Grand National weights were announced last month. This eight-year-old King’s Theatre gelding proved our time-handicap right when landing a fiercely-competitive Cheltenham Festival handicap and will line up for the World’s Greatest Horse-Race at Aintree, mount of Aidan Coleman.

Key to my assessment was a remarkable run in the ‘Hennessy’ over three and a quarter miles at Newbury during November when Neil Mulholland’s charge continually hit fences but then took off on the far bend and actually looked a genuine threat approaching the third last. Earlier lapses took their toll but The Druids Nephew finished a respectable 7th of nineteen.

Davy Russell was impressed but he’s out of action due to injury and so is Barry Geraghty, brilliant aboard TDN at Prestbury Park. I’m delighted with the booking of Coleman however, a likely challenger for the NH jockeys’ championship next season given that Tony McCoy will abdicate during, or after, the wonderful three-day(s) Liverpool spectacular. He wont be licensed in May!

If Shutthefrontdoor wins the National ‘AP’ will probably retire there and then but the current favourite (because Tony has declared he’ll ride him!) will have no chance of beating The Druids Nephew if the latter achieves his mark. Also his somewhat slovenly technique might just suit those unique fences ideally as it’s possible to rustle the fringes in the way the Red Rum did without falling one hundred and fifty times.

As we’re excited about a genuine prospect, in the meantime there are three jumping fixtures today, Chepstow, Warwick and Kempton where Destiny’s Gold looks destined for one of three placings in the Novices’ Hurdle over two miles which kicks off a seven-race programme.

I’m loathe to mention the time-handicap where jumping is concerned having found so many inaccuracies/discrepancies with timing but Destiny’s Gold is similarly-rated to the obvious principals, Argot and Brother Bennett, on offical ratings and justifies a punt.

At the Midlands venue Verano is a solid nap for the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle over two miles; thrown-in and napped with my favourite NH jockey, Daryl ‘patient’ Jacob on our side.   

California women’s cricket gets SIS sponsorship boost

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 09:24

The longstanding California Women’s Windball Cricket League got a major boost for its 2015 season with sponsorship from contractors Super Industrial Services (SIS). The season opened on Saturday. 

Welcoming the partnership with SIS, founder and president of the California Women’s Windball Cricket League, Wilton “Flex” Griffith, said the funds would go primarily toward enhanced prize money and trophies for the various competitions.

“We are extremely happy that SIS has come on board once more to partner with us in staging this tournament which has been in the vanguard of promoting women’s cricket for almost three decades. We can now afford to offer increased prize money to the teams and present a more structured tournament for 2015,” Griffith pointed out.

Celebrating its 29th anniversary this year, California Women’s Windball Cricket League received the financial injection at a simple function at SIS head-office, Rivulet Road, Couva, yesterday. Representing SIS were Barry Ramroop and Vidia Rampersad, event coordinators, while Griffith and league official Kerina Laurie represented the league.

Ramroop said SIS was proud to renew its partnership with the women’s cricket league, noting that the sponsorship formed an integral part of the company’s corporate social investment thrust which encompasses sports, education, culture and other spheres in its home community and Trinidad and Tobago in general.

Apart from looking after prize money and trophies, SIS is also providing logistical support for the entire season. 

The league has proved to be a nursery for women’s cricket with several players, such as Britney Cooper, Stacy King and Kirbyna Alexander, going on to represent both Trinidad and Tobago and the West Indies at a higher level. Ten teams, representing communities throughout Trinidad, have registered so far for the 2015 season.

The league launches its 2015 season with its traditional round-robin competition at Macaulay Park, California, on Saturday. Defending round-robin champions Tamana United have sounded a warning to all rivals that they are well prepared to retain their crown and the $1,000 first prize. 

The opening ceremony featured a Parade of Teams with a special prize for the Best Uniformed Team.

The season comprises four competitions, League, Knock-Out, the opening Round-Robin, and culminates with a three-over Knock-Out with a first prize of $1,000 on the final day which will also feature the distribution of prizes and trophies.

The 15-over league competition offers a first prize of $10,000 and a trophy. Winners of the Knock-Out (12 overs) competition will receive $4,000 and a trophy. 

TTFA grateful for support from MOS and SporTT

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 09:22

The T&T Football Association yesterday extended heartfelt gratitude to the Ministry of Sport and Sport Company of T&T (Sportt)  for its unwavering support towards the staging of the international friendly between T&T and Panama at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on Friday night.

William Wallace, the FA’s national team’s Operations Director who has been overseeing the T&TFA’s relations with the Ministry of Sport and SporTT, said that the cooperation and understanding between both sides has been on point

“On behalf of the T&TFA, I would like to extend sincere gratitude to all those entities that contributed to making the Friendly International with Panama possible. Special mention must be made of the Ministry of Sport and Sportt,” Wallace stated.

“I have to express special thanks to the Minister of Sport Mr Brent Sancho and the Permanent Secretary Richard Oliver for sitting with the Football Association to establish a template for future projects. This of course will go a long way towards strengthening relationships and systems as we move forward and look ahead to the Concacaf Gold Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers as well as other assignments for our national teams,” he added.

Wallace also expressed gratitude to SporTT Acting CEO Adrian Raymond for his efforts over the past couple weeks in ensuring several arrangements went through for the match.

“Raymond has been very supportive as well and he in fact brought his staff out on Saturday to facilitate the payment of match fees to the players,” Wallace mentioned.

Wallace reiterated that while the Government organisations have been heavily supportive of the National Football Teams, there are still ongoing efforts by the T&TFA to source additional support through corporate T&T and other partners

Local federation president Raymond Tim Kee, who also expressed his appreciation to the Ministry of Sport and SporTT, took the opportunity to also thank the visiting Panama team for being formidable opponents for the match  to assist in this country’s God Cup preparations and he thanked all other supporting staff and contributors for the match including the Local Organising Committee, Ato Boldon Stadium management and stadium staff, Protective Services, the T&T Pro League and clubs, television and radio production crews, media and the T&T national team and staff for its encouraging showing against the Panamanians.

Australia beats NZ to win its 5th Cricket World Cup title

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 06:17

MELBOURNE, Australia—Michael Clarke raised his bat to acknowledge the massive crowd, and nodded to a fallen teammate he credited for inspiring Australia’s run to a fifth World Cup title that culminated with an emphatic win over New Zealand.

Clarke scored 74 and shared a 112-run partnership with Steve Smith (56 not out) as the skipper and the likely future captain spearheaded Australia to the winning target of 184 in the 34th over at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.

It didn’t end absolutely perfectly for Clarke, who also played in the winning team in 2007, when he was bowled by Matt Henry nine runs short of the target in his 245th and last one-day international. But it was close enough. Smith hit the winning runs as Australia reached 186-3 for a seven-wicket victory.

Australia’s left-arm pacemen did the damage early, with Mitchell Starc (2-20), Mitchell Johnson (3-30) and James Faulkner (3-36) combining to dismiss previously unbeaten tournament co-host New Zealand for 183 in 45 overs.

Starc bowled New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum for a duck on the fifth ball, after the Black Caps won the toss and batted in their first away game of the tournament.

The wicket capped an outstanding World Cup for Starc, who was voted player of the tournament for his 22 wickets at an average of 10.18 in an event where bat dominated ball.

He, like Clarke, wore a black arm band featuring the initials PH in memory of former Australia teammate Phillip Hughes, who died after being struck by a ball in a domestic first-class match last November.

“I’ll wear it every game I play for Australia,” said Clarke, who plans to continue as test captain. “It’s been a really tough few months—we’ve played this World Cup with 16 players. Tonight, this is dedicated to our little brother and teammate Phillip Hughes.

“I’m over the moon—what a tournament,” Clarke added. “Time is right for me to walk away from one-day cricket.”

New Zealand captain McCullum said he had no regrets.

“It’s been one hell of a ride for us,” he said. “Right the way through, we played some outstanding cricket, and we ran into an outstanding Australian team today. They’re deserved champions, and Michael Clarke deserved to bow out a World Cup-winning champion.”

After slipping to 39-3 in the 13th over, New Zealand recovered in a 111-run stand between Grant Elliott (83) and Ross Taylor (40) before Faulkner triggered the rapid demise with two wickets in three balls in a period when Australia took three wickets for one run in eight deliveries.

The last seven New Zealand wickets fell for 33 runs.

“At 150-3 in 35 overs, most times this team would have believed we were capable of 270 or 280 if not more,” McCullum said. “It was a little unlucky for Ross to get out the way he did, and then we saw Australia really bare its teeth and put the hammer down on us. That was possibly the pivotal stage.”

Not to be counted out, having bowled out Australia for 151 in a one-wicket pool win at Auckland a month ago, New Zealand took a wicket in the second over to make the chase more interesting.

Trent Boult, who took 5-27 against Australia in Auckland, took a return catch to remove Aaron Finch (0)—his tournament co-leading 22nd wicket—but David Warner (45) and Smith steadied the chase with a 61-run partnership in 64 balls.

Warner’s dismissal, caught by Elliott off Henry’s bowling, brought Clarke to the crease to raucous cheering from the crowd of 93,013, a cricket attendance record in Australia. And the 33-year-old skipper responded by removing any doubt about the result.

The New Zealanders were the story of the tournament, led by McCullum’s enterprising captaincy. On home turf, though, it was Clarke who had the better of the exchange, with his bowling changes netting wickets quickly, and his fielding changes cutting down the run flow and contributing to dismissals.

Starc ensured New Zealand made the worst possible start by beating McCullum’s bat twice before bowling him for a third-ball duck.

Martin Guptill (15), who scored 105, a World Cup-record unbeaten 237, and 34 in his previous three innings, survived the early pace battery but succumbed immediately to spin, bowled by Glenn Maxwell’s second ball in the 12th over, and finished as the tournament leading scorer with 547 runs.

Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi followed quickly, and Daniel Vettori, likely playing his last international game, couldn’t hang around with Elliott long enough to produce the kind of late partnership that helped New Zealand to a next-to-last-ball semifinal win over South Africa.

India defended 183 to win the 1983 World Cup final against the West Indies, but New Zealand always faced an uphill battle at the MCG. (AP)

Cricket World Cup Champions

1975_West Indies

1979_West Indies

1983_India

1987_Australia

1992_Pakistan

1996_Sri Lanka

1999_Australia

2003_Australia

2007_Australia

2011_India

2015_Australia

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