Tickets for the third Digicel One-day International between West Indies and Australia were like gold on Monday here – and they were all gone just after 12 noon.
Vincentians of all walks of life bombarded ticket outlets around the capital and any other sources they could tap, seeking to get their hands on the precious commodity for the crucial match, which takes place on Tuesday at the Arnos Vale Cricket Ground.
It all started when a sell-out crowd defied a Sunday morning deluge to cheer West Indies on to a tense, five-wicket victory over the Australians in the second Digicel ODI at the same venue.
This energized local fans, but Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves’ decision to declare Tuesday a public holiday intensified the fever that has gripped the island from Fancy in the north to Villa in the south.
Out-of-favour Windward Islands batsman Donwell Hector, a native of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, was one of the people caught in the crush at a ticket outlet on the city’s main thoroughfare.
“It’s going to be a big crowd and everybody heard about the fun everyone had at [Sunday’s] match and they all want to be there,” said Hector.
“People were also thrilled about the way West Indies played [on Sunday] and they want to be a part of Tuesday’s match, particularly with it being a holiday.”
Mellissa Williams, another fan hunting for a ticket, said she had no plans of attending Tuesday’s match because she expected to be at work.
“People in the party stand, like myself, had a lot of fun and West Indies played well and they won,” she said.
“We are all West Indians and we are here to support the team, win, lose, or draw.”
Kenroy Robinson said it was generous of the Prime Minister to declare Tuesday a holiday and hoped the team could win another game.
“The holiday was a good idea, no one has to work, and we expect that it will be another exciting game,” he said.
“We want to see the West Indies win again. We want them to play at their best and we want them to win.”
Sherita Harry said she missed Sunday’s match and wanted to be part of the party stand atmosphere, but she issued a warning to Darren Sammy and his side.
“I want to wish the team all the best, but if they do not win, they owe me EC $30 and I cannot afford to waste money at this time,” she said.
Cindy McLean, event manager of the West Indies Cricket Board, confirmed that all tickets for Tuesday’s match had been sold-out, and said it was a positive sign for the series.
“International matches have not been played here for two years and the way the Vincentian people have responded has been quite extraordinary,” she said.
“The WICB is highly invested in bringing cricket fans back to cricket. A deliberate strategy has been undertaken to ensure that people of all walks of life, especially young, emerging fans and older, loyal fans can continue to experience West Indies Cricket.”
McLean said: “We all know that the game remains the passion of the people of the Caribbean, but it is always nice to see that passion reflected in ticket sales and fans at the matches.
“We are gratified with ticket sales in St. Vincent and we hope fans in the other markets take the cue from Vincentians and turn up to offer similar support to our team.”
The five-match series is level 1-1, after Australia won the first ODI last Friday at the same venue by 64 runs.
The series concludes this coming Friday and Sunday at the Beausejour Cricket Ground in St. Lucia.
The WICB has also cleared the way for local television to televise the game, so fans without a ticket can still catch the action and the fever.