Regional

STETHS revel in cricket triumph

BY GARFIELD MYERS Editor-at-large South/Central Bureau myersg@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, March 24, 2014    

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SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — The celebration, as the final wicket fell with Lasana Turner bowled by Ramaal Lewis, was a rare sight for those used to watching St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) win at cricket over the last three decades.

Lewis, the STETHS captain as well as Jamaica and West Indies Under-19 captain, who had bagged 6 for 13 from 6.5 overs of off-spin, grabbed a stump, jumped and spun, then raced across the field with Bolt-like speed, arms outstretched.

His teammates provided a similar picture of uncontained, joyful abandon.

STETHS' victory over Vere Technical High School by 263 runs in last week's final of the ISSA Grace Headley Cup marked the school's 26th hold on the premier cricket title for rural schools.

But it also marked their reclamation of the title after losing at the semi-final stage last year - hence the wild celebration.

"The players, especially the seniors such as Ramaal Lewis and Marquino Mindley (Jamaica and West Indies Under-19 fast bowler) were really disappointed with the performance last year. They really, really wanted to win here," explained STETHS coach Clive Ledgister.

The coach praised leadership provided by players such as Lewis and Mindley but also by 15-year-old Michael Frew who took on the job of skippering the school's senior team when Lewis and Mindley were away on West Indies Under-19 duties at the ICC youth world cup recently.

"They led from the front with discipline, guts and determination on and off the field and that really made a big difference," said Ledgister.

"Overall, the players were able to hold off everything thrown at them by the opposition. They built strong motivation and team spirit and they have come through the season with flying colours," said Ledgister.

School principal Keith Wellington hailed the cricketers, their coaching and management staff for their discipline, organisation, attention to detail and inclination to plan carefully.

"I say to all the departments in the school 'watch and learn from how the people in cricket operate'. I tell them that if we can organise and plan the way they (in cricket) do, we will succeed," Wellington said.

He heaped praise on former STETHS coach Junior Bennett, now coach of the Jamaica national senior team, who continues to keep a close eye on the school's cricket programme, for that insistence on planning and organisation. "I have always admired Junior for those qualities," he said.

The success in cricket this season follows the school's triumphant run in football late last year. STETHS won the daCosta Cup title for rural high schools as well as the knockout Ben Francis Cup, before falling to Corporate Area football champions Jamaica College in the Olivier Shield two-way tie.

Wellington said the school's sports programme was a crucial element in the preparation of students for later life.

Separate and apart from the fact that the ability to play sport was an important life skill and of increasing economic value, Wellington described sporting competition as a "wonderful learning tool".

"They learn how to socialise, relate to others, set and achieve goals and ultimately achieve success," said Wellington.

STETHS will now await the completion of the Corporate Area ISSA/Grace Shield to know their opponents in the all-island Spalding Cup.

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