Dillon to push Red Force despite satisfaction with second-place finish


Dillon to push Red Force despite satisfaction with second-place finish

Saturday, March 28, 2020

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Despite Trinidad and Tobago Red Force not winning the four-day West Indies Championship, Coach Mervyn Dillon says he achieved what he set out to by finishing in the top-three of the six-franchise tournament.

Barbados Pride were Tuesday declared winners of the competition, which had been suspended in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, after Cricket West Indies (CWI) decided to scrap the last two rounds in the first-class season altogether. They were top of the table with 134.8 points, well ahead of Red Force who were on 94.6 points.

Trinidad ended the competition one place ahead of their third-place finish last year.

“Realistically, based on the goals I set, I was always going to be happy with a top three finish,” Dillon told Trinidad's Daily Express newspaper.

“Congrats to Barbados for the wonderful season they have had. They played some really good cricket. They took their chances, they seemed to put a good unit together.”

Identifying the highlights of his side's performance, the former West Indies fast bowler said the batsmen had delivered to put big scores on the board. Seven of them hit centuries.

“To see us put scores on the board above 300 was a good achievement by the batters. We finished with the most centuries [eight]. Those things you have to give them credit for. We haven't been close to that in the recent past,” said Dillon, who replaced Kelvin Williams midway through the 2018-2019 campaign.

Red Force had three wins, two losses and three draws from their eight matches.

The coach added that he wants his men to be fitter.

“I am a big believer in fitness. When you look at our fitness levels in terms of where we were and where we are in the last year,” Dillon told Trinidad & Tobago Newsday. “I am a big believer once we up that fitness level everything else will improve. Our weakest point has been our fielding, our catching. We dropped way too many catches and all of this had to do with concentration and I think once guys get fitter they will be able to concentrate for longer.”

Fitness was identified by Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) President Conde Riley as one of the main reasons for Pride's success in this year's championship. He had referred to the squad as the region's “fittest team”.

Dillon said a new fitness initiative for Red Force cricketers will soon begin, amid the downtime.

“I sent a message in the (Red Force) group chat…challenging my trainer Jerry (Clinton Jeremiah) and Jason (Pilgrim), our physio. We are going to have to get creative on how we are going to get this done because we can't afford to let all the good work that we have done over the last few months go to waste,” he said.

Defending champions Guyana Jaguars ended this year's tournament in third position on 91.8 points, along with Jamaica Scorpions. Windward Islands Volcanoes finished fifth with 78, while the Leeward Islands Hurricanes was sixth with 52.8 points.

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