LOCAL cricket boss Lyndel Wright has praised the Social Development Commission (SDC) Twenty20 (T20) competition for allowing increased participation in the sport across the island.
Speaking to the Jamaica Observer a few days after Old Harbour successfully defended the T20 Community Cricket crown, Wright said the competition "broadens the scope of participation" and added that crowd support at matches is testimony that the game is "well and alive in Jamaica".
"The SDC cricket is a blessing. At this time it has impacted well and shows that cricket is alive and well in Jamaica. It broadens the scope of participation to a community-based level and even allows national players to take part in Twenty20 cricket," he said.
On the regional T20 circuit — which provides the avenue for participation in the financially rewarding Champions League T20 showpeice — Jamaica continue to trail dismally behind the well-oiled Trinidad & Tobago outfit, as well as Guyana.
Wright noted that the hugely popular SDC T20, which engages two-thirds of the over 700 communities in Jamaica, offers much-needed preparation for local players.
"We haven't done too well as a nation in that version and the SDC competition gives exposure to players. We welcome and endorse it because it helps to unearth talent and also brings communities together," Wright said.
SDC Public Relations Manager Afrika Thompson said she was pleased with the running of this year's competition and with the sustained support it received from all quarters.
"The Social Development Commission is very pleased with the general running of the competition. We're very pleased with the positive attitude of the teams, the level of involvement of the communities and the overall level of enthusiasm of the supporters.
"This has really solidified the competition as one of the premier competitions in Jamaica," she said.
Thompson defended the organisers' decision to stick to the originally scheduled date for the final between Old Harbour and Bridgeport at the Alpart Sports Complex, despite the threats of rain last weekend.
"We are very satisfied and despite the weather, the communities and the supporters came out in big numbers and that has shown how committed they are and the level of traction that the competition has gotten.
"We finished on time this year and that was a big plus for us. In previous years the final matches went on late in the afternoon. This time around we ended a little earlier. We are pleased things got wrapped up early and patrons had the opportunity to leave before it got dark," Thompson reasoned.