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Coach says defending U-15 crown will be a 'challenge'

BY SANJAY MYERS Observer staff reporter myerss@jamaicaobserver.com
Monday, July 16, 2012

Jamaica's coach Terrence Corke said it will be a "challenge" for his team to successfully defend the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Under-15 tournament which will begin in St Kitts tomorrow.

The 14-member squad left the island yesterday under the cloud of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) failure to sight a change in the 2012 Playing Conditions guidelines, until less than a week before the competition's start.

The error left parents and some followers outraged, while forcing a selection reshuffle that saw 12 players -- who were ineligible based on the rules --having to be replaced at the last hour.

Corke, who had practice sessions with the hastily-assembled squad on Friday and Saturday, admitted that replicating last season's triumph has been made even harder by the limited preparation for the youngsters.

"I really don't know what the opposition is like this season, given the changes. If it is anything like previous seasons we could be facing a challenge.

"We are just getting these boys together and not seeing anything from them before. Given the situation, we have to just encourage them and mostly allow them to play what they know," said the veteran youth coach.

Aside from last year's success, Corke guided Jamaica to back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009. The Jamaicans finished behind Trinidad & Tobago in 2010 after both teams, along with Guyana, ended on equal number of points. The three had to be separated by net run-rate.

Though still struggling to familiarise himself with some of the new squad members, Corke suggested that there is a glimmer of hope amidst the obvious challenges.

"There's also a possibility that we all (the teams) are almost be at level pegging. We are defending champions and if we can go out there with a good attitude, things can happen in our favour," he reasoned.

Jamaica open the defence of its title tomorrow against Barbados.

Squad -- Michael Frew (captain), Javelle Glenn, Simon Lee, Orande Pearson, Shamar McCoy, Orlando Rowe, Romario B Brown, Romario W Brown, David Curtis, Damali Taylor, Devaraine Rowe, Andrew Thompson, Rayon Nelson and Evan Jones.

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