Tacky, Excelsior in Tampa cricket festival
Under-19 cricket teams from Jamaican schools Tacky High and Excelsior High are set to compete in a four-team, three-day Twenty20 (T20) tournament in Tampa, Florida, starting Friday.
Delroy Bent, a leading co-ordinator of the tournament, said the Jamaican school teams have been in Florida for “some time now” and have been preparing well in practice matches and net sessions while acclimatising to artificial surfaces. All the matches will be played on artificial surfaces.
The tournament, which includes local academy teams, University of South Florida (USF) and Assasins, was downscaled in terms of participating teams and pushed back by a week from last weekend.
A third Jamaican school, May Day High, was forced to withdraw because of visa issues.
Organisers are aiming to make the Tampa tournament an annual event providing “exposure and development” for young cricketers in the United States and its neighbours.
Bent has expressed the hope that over the long term it will evolve into “something along the lines of the [world-famous] Penn Relays” in the United States. The Penn Relays is said to be the oldest track and field competition in the USA, held annually in April since 1895.
Cricket is among the fastest-growing sports in the United States, driven by the huge migrant population from India and the wider Indian subcontinent, as well as people from other cricket-playing regions, including the Caribbean.
The Jamaican school teams are scheduled to return home on Monday.