Perfect send-off
Wolmer's Beckford says T20 crown brings fitting end to schoolboy career
Excelsior High cricket Captain Michael Clarke (right) goes for a big hit as Wolmer's Boys' wicketkeeper Jose Northover looks on during the ISSA Twenty20 all-island final at Sabina Park on Saturday.(Photo: Joseph Wellington)

Wolmer's Boys' Captain Justin Beckford says retaining the Twenty20 (T20) all-island cricket title with a six-wicket victory over Excelsior High on Saturday was the ideal way to bring the curtain down on his high school career.

In the gripping championship match at Sabina Park, Wolmer's, who had already secured the prestigious urban area Grace Shield crown earlier in the season, sped to 150-4 in response to Excelsior's 149-6.

For Beckford, who turns 19 in June, it brought the curtain down on his playing days at Wolmer's.

And though the classy-looking, right-hand batsman made only 14 in the T20 final against Excelsior, he was superb throughout the schoolboy campaign.

Wolmer's batsman Jordan Johnson (right) hits down the ground as Excelsior wicketkeeper David Dewar looks on during the ISSA Twenty20 all-island final at Sabina Park on Saturday. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

Beckford, who has plenty experience at the national youth level, made five centuries during the just-ended season including an impressive, match-winning 166 against St Jago High in the Grace Shield final.

From a team perspective there was disappointment they missed out on the all-island Spalding Cup after being second best to rural area champions St Elizabeth Technical in the rain-truncated, drawn three-day match.

But they exacted revenge when they defeated the Santa Cruz-based schoolboy cricket kingpins by 46 runs in the semi-finals of the all-island T20 championship en route to hoisting the winners' trophy.

"I'm very elated because this is my last year, so I couldn't ask for a better ending to my Wolmer's career," he told the Jamaica Observer during Saturday's post-match interview.

Wolmer's Boys' cricket Captain Justin Beckford plays the ball to the leg side during the ISSA Twenty20 all-island final against Excelsior High at Sabina Park on Saturday. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

He praised Excelsior's skipper Michael Clarke, who is his teammate at Kingston-based Lucas Cricket Club, and his Wolmer's batting partner Jordan Johnson for helping to make the match a spectacle.

The swashbuckling Clarke, who batted at number four, blasted 10 sixes and two fours in an unbeaten 79 from 32 balls, which was central to Excelsior getting a solid total. But the dashing West Indies Under-19 left-hander Johnson, who hit a controlled 29-ball 37 not out, ensured Wolmer's got to the target at a canter.

"It was a good game and a really good innings from Michael Clarke to make the game entertaining for the fans that came. I'm not necessarily surprised because I know Michael Clarke has great qualities as a batsman and today he showed with a wonderful innings. And Jordan Johnson sealed it off being the wonderful player that he is," Beckford said.

Clarke was disappointed Excelsior were not able to restrict the powerful Wolmer's batting line-up, but was pleased with the all-round effort of his team.

"I think we set a very decent total in a T20 game, but unfortunately, Wolmer's came out on top. They were the better team and I have to say hats off to Wolmer's. They came out and cemented a platform and chased down the score well.

"But I'm super happy with the team, it's a very young team and to come into the final, a pressure game…they did their best," the 18-year-old player told the Observer.

Clarke said because his team lacked depth in batting, the plan was for the top order batsmen to be circumspect in laying a platform before opening up with aggressive shots in the latter stages of the innings.

"I had a mindset that I'm the backbone of the team and I'm going to go out there and know that I cannot be the one to get out. I have to bat through the innings to give my team a chance and I did that," he explained.

Sanjay Myers

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Which long-term investment option is more attractive to you at the moment?