Windsor Park back as venue for first class championship

Antigua Observer:  

Dominica’s Windsor Park will make its return as a venue for the Regional Four-Day Championship, just over a year after suffering damage during the passage of dangerous Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The Test venue took a heavy blow from the tropical systems that tore through the small Caribbean island within two weeks of each other last year September, and understandably did not feature during the last firstclass season.

However, it hosted the World Creole Music Festival last month and will now be the stage for the ninth round Regional Four-Day fixture between Windward Islands Volcanoes and Trinidad and Tobago Red Force next February. “We are very elated to have been given this opportunity, since we have started to bounce back from the hurricane and on stream to host this regional match,” said Glen Joseph, president of the Dominica Cricket Association. “We are willing to take on the challenge, ensure that everything goes well and is successful.

We are looking to put all the logistics in place so that there will be no issues. We are very excited, and we will ensure that we put our best foot forward.” Following the hurricanes, Windsor Park was temporarily used as a shelter for displaced residents, while the country came to grips with the extensive damage and loss of life. Joseph said, however, the restoration work had begun and would continue apace with a view towards hosting international matches next year. “We hosted the World Creole Festival and Gospelfest concerts recently,” he explained.

“I have spoken to government officials and they are hoping to complete all of the restoration work either in the first or second quarter of next year to ensure that the ground is ready in a bid to host international games next year.” Meanwhile, four-time reigning champions Guyana Jaguars will begin their bid for a fifth straight title when they clash with Volcanoes starting next week Thursday at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet. The day/night fixture will be one of two in the round as Barbados will host Leeward Islands Hurricanes in a similar pink ball affair at 3W’s Oval at the UWI Cave Hill Campus in Bridgetown.

Red Force was due to meet Jamaica Scorpions but the fixture has been pushed back until March at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Trinidad. The second round will bowl off December 13 and will be the last one before the Christmas break. Action will resume January 4. With the first Test against England bowling off January 23 in Barbados, CWI’s cricket operations manager, Roland Holder, said players had the chance to stake their claim for international selection. “The season is designed to give all players an opportunity to impress the selectors prior to England landing on January 11 next year,” Holder said.

“Basically, it’s four rounds of matches to impress, and consistency from all players – both with the bat and ball – would be welcomed. “If it’s a batsman, score consistently and not just one big score surrounded by a series of low scores. If it’s a bowler, take wickets and trouble the batsmen consistently, so that you are in the forefront of the selectors’ minds.” The championship features 10 rounds and wraps up March 10.