Jamaica strong opponent to exclusion of CCC, says Heaven

BY SANJAY MYERS Observer staff reporter

Friday, December 20, 2013    

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THE new administration of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) is vocal in its opposition to the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) excluding the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) from regional tournaments in the future.

The regional body discussed the fate of the team -- consisting of tertiary-level students -- at a Board meeting in St Kitts earlier this month, and ultimately decided to continue to allow their participation in WICB-run competitions for at least another year.

But Wilford 'Billy' Heaven, who was elected as JCA boss less than a month ago, and who is one of two representatives from Jamaica who sit on the WICB board of directors, believes the university team is a key element in the region's

cricket development.

"We opposed the omission of the CCC from the West Indies competitions. We believe that you cannot be serious about the development of cricket and not include the CCC in that process," he said during the Jamaica Observer Sports Club forum at the tabloid's Beechwood Avenue headquarters yesterday.

"Not having them playing is really saying that you're not really looking far enough down the road.

"They (the WICB hierarchy) have agreed, at least within the next year to have the CCC included, but our position will not change on that," added Heaven in a resolute tone.

JCA first vice-president Dr Donovan Bennett is the other representative from Jamaica.

WICB chief executive officer Michael Muirhead, in the Trinidad Express, cited "commercial" benefits and the desire to take a "different slant" as reasons for the proposed exclusion.

Many cricket followers across the region as well as those directly linked to the Combined Campuses team had made appeals ahead of the Board meeting to not withdraw the CCC from the Regional Super50 and Four-day competitions.

The Combined Campuses and Colleges reached the final of this year's Super50 tournament and lost to the Windward Islands.

The CCC also finished second in the 2011 edition of the Four-day tournament after being beaten by Jamaica in the final.

Heaven, who on December 7 attended his first WICB board of directors meeting, explained that the CCC is valuable to the region's cricket.

"One of the things you have to look at closely and understand fully is that cricketers are no longer coming up through what was then the Estate system and sugar factories, cricketers are not coming up through bauxite industry and bauxite companies.

"Cricketers and sports people, both men and women, are coming up through the educational institutions and that's a reality going forward that we have to face," said Heaven, the CEO of the state-run CHASE Fund.

Heaven continued: "It's not only in Jamaica, it's not only in the West Indies, but throughout the world, you are seeing the connect between sports and education, at tertiary institutions, in particular. Therefore it would not be in anybody's interest to omit the CCC from the competition, because that's the future."

The 2014 Super50 is set to be played in Trinidad & Tobago, starting in late January.

The CCC first played in regional tournaments in 2007 and received a WICB grant of $US50,000 under former president Julian Hunte back in 2012.

That amount is reportedly similar to what the WICB awarded to the six territorial boards for helping cricket development.

The current president of the WICB is Whycliffe 'Dave' Cameron.





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