Jamaica to host CWI regional cricket matches
ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) — First class matches will return to Jamaica after Cricket West Indies (CWI) announced on Thursday that the island will host five rounds of matches in an expanded West Indies Championship, starting next month.
The return of senior regional competition will be welcomed news in Kingston after the authorities passed on staging matches in the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup later this year and the ownership of the Jamaica Tallawahs repatriated the franchise to the organisers of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) because of a lack of government support.
The international venue of Sabina Park, as well as Kensington Cricket Club — both situated in Kingston — and Chedwin Park in Spanish Town will host matches during the opening three rounds and the last two of the tournament.
Hosts Jamaica Scorpions will play all but two of their matches in the tournament at Sabina Park.
“With significant upgrades taking place at all the host venues for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in June, and additional improvements being made to the National Stadium in Grenada and Windsor Park in Dominica, we are using nine venues across Jamaica, St Kitts & Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda, and Trinidad & Tobago,” CWI Chief Executive Officer Johnny Grave said.
Grave also highlighted the return of the Combined Campuses & Colleges (CCC) to the tournament for the first time in a decade, and the inclusion of a CWI Academy side for the first time.
“We are pleased to announce the schedule for the upcoming West Indies Championship and welcome two new teams and an expansion in the number of matches,” he said.
With eight teams in the tournament, there will be eight rounds of matches with the first three taking place between February 7 and 24, the fourth and fifth rounds between March 13 and 23, and the final two rounds between April 10 and 20.
CCC was formed in 2008 and played in the West Indies Championship for seven seasons, winning 17 matches during that period.
They beat all comers, except Jamaica, against whom they played in the final of the 2011 tournament, before they were excluded from the 2014-15 season onwards as part of a series of changes to the format.
The Academy is all set to make its debut in the tournament after a winning performance in the Headley-Weekes tournament last year.
The championship will run until April 20, and will have a significant increase in prize money with the champions receiving US $250 000, while the runners-up will receive US $100 000.