While West Indian superstars Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard thrill Australian spectators with their big hitting during this month’s BigBash, back in the Caribbean the local domestic T20 tournament is in full swing and I was fortunate indeed to catch the thrilling match between Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) and Guyana this morning.
Played at the still sandy but much improved Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua, in front of a typically colourful and noisy crowd, the match illustrated that West Indian cricket, despite its well known problems, still has all the elements that thrilled cricket lovers the world over in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.
The fielding was athletic, the bowling short and quick, there were several spinners of Indian extraction and the batsman attacked the bowling without fear.
There were many familiar names on show too.
Billy Doctrove was as reluctant as ever to raise the finger for LBW shouts, Curtley Ambrose was funky, forgiving and very knowledgeable in the commentary box, a perfect compliment to the dulcet tones of Farveez Mohammed, Jeffrey Dujon and Sir Viv were happily chatting away in the stands and the Guyanese team included international batsmen of class like Shiv Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan.
The young CCC team was marshalled by veteran player coach Floyd Reifer and the student’s enthusiasm, energy and spirit had their experienced opponents under pressure for 36 overs until Guyanese ‘keeper Derwin Christian walked to the crease at the fall of the seventh wicket with his team requiring 57 runs from 26 balls.
Christian hit the first ball he faced for six and when he repeated it on his thirteenth to bring his score to 40 the match was over. It was a mighty comeback and the elation of the Guyanese supporters swarming the pitch proudly waving their red, gold and green flags to celebrate at match’s end brought a smile to the face and a joy to the heart.
Although there were more American baseball caps than the cricketing variety on the heads of the spectators, it was refreshing to watch a game of cricket without gimmicks like scantily clad dancers, incessant advertising, flaming fireworks and loud music between balls. Apart from the rum and ganga, the cricket was the sole entertainment on offer and if you like your cricket coverage old school check out the schedule, find a feed and sit back and enjoy some great action from the hotly contested Caribbean T20.
For those unable to find pictures either on TV or internet you can access live audio and video highlights from the tournament site.