Digicel official basks in afterglow of exciting school T20 cricket
DIGICEL'S sponsorship manager Tahnida Nunes deemed her company's partnership with the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) a success after the two combined to host a phenomenal Super Eight Twenty20 competition.
The competition, which was played over five Saturdays of last month, saw the best eight schools from across the island battling for a cash prize, equipment and the coveted winner's trophy.
Nunes told the Jamaica Observer after the final game on Saturday at the Manchester High School that the cellphone giant could not have been happier with the outcome.
"Today (last Saturday) was a really great day for us, it is always so lovely when you see a vision come to life," she said.
She continued: "I remember when we just met with ISSA about this vision of T20 cricket at the secondary school level, they wanted somebody to support them and we hit the ground running."
Her face lit up as she relived the last moments of the exciting final game, while attributing most of the success to ISSA.
"I was there with the prinicpals of ISSA and at first we thought Vere had it, but then we saw STETHS winning with the last ball that was bowled and this is the excitement that you expect from T20 cricket.
"This is the perfect start of something great and we are definitely going to be supporting for the long haul. At first we wanted to see how it would work, regroup and see if we needed to change anything, but the format is perfect (and) ISSA is a great body for us to do it with because they have a structure (and) they know the schools...its like they have a blueprint already and that made it easy for us," she explained.
George Forbes, competitions director at ISSA, is already looking forward to next year's competition, which he thinks will be "much bigger and better with more teams and funding".
He assessed that the fast-paced exciting shorter version of the game will see more patrons turning out as opposed to an all-day game.
"We are very pleased that we were able to get Digicel on board to sponsor our T20, it has been a tremendous success.
"We have seen about three or four centuries scored and it is no mean feat to score a century in this version of the game. Some people thought it was impossible to do... Chris Gayle and some others showed that it can be done, and it is good to see these youngsters replicating that feat, and today's (last Saturday's) places an exclamation on the fact that T20 is the version that will keep cricket alive," said Forbes.
The teams that took part were Wolmer's, Excelsior, Eltham and St Jago from the urban area and St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), Cross Keys, Vere Technical and Manchester from rural Jamaica.
The riveting competition climaxed with STETHS defeating Vere Technical by one wicket in a nail-biting final which came down to the last over and had teachers, sponsors, team players and officials at the edge of their seats.
The Santa Cruz team took home $150,000, while Vere Technical got $100,000. Third-placed Manchester High ($75,000), and Eltham High ($50,000), who ended in fourth position, were also awarded for their efforts.