Aug 09, 2014
PRESIDENT of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), Wilford 'Billy' Heaven said it is hard to speak about the development of cricket if females are not included.
However, females in cricket are not a new phenomenon, as they have always been playing the game at different levels throughout the world, including their very own Women's Cricket World Cup, but Heaven reiterates his assertive desire to develop women's cricket in Jamaica.
"In our manifesto we emphasised the development of female cricket in Jamaica, and there is no other place to start other than the primary school level, and coming right up into the secondary and tertiary institutions, in order to have a good national programme," Heaven said.
"Right now we would be happy if we had a national Under-19 female team...sad to say we don't, and I don't want the next two or three years to come and we can't put out on the field an Under-19, Under-17 or an Under-15 female team," he told the Jamaica Observer at the launch of the Primary, All-Age and Junior High Cricket Championship at Sabina Park yesterday.
As a means of supporting the cause, all schools were asked to include at least one female player on the team, and failure to do so would result in them competing with 10 players.
"At this level it is not practical in a number of ways, inclusive of financial considerations, to have two separate teams, so we are having this programme of inclusion where the boys and the girls will play. It is good in a number of ways in terms of socialisation, and it also speaks significantly to the development of the game amongst the boys and girls," said Heaven.
General Manager of Jamaica National (JN) Life Insurance Company Oliver Tomlinson outlined that the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) is proud to renew its relationship with the JCA for the 21st renewal of the competition.
"We commend the JCA for staying the course. We really applaud them on the 21st renewal of this competition, which has become a vital training ground for unearthing and grooming these young players, many of whom have gone on to represent Jamaica and the region at the highest level," he said.
Tomlinson added that teamwork, discipline, hard work and determination are just some of the important life lessons imparted to the young people who participate in team sports such as cricket.
"These will become lifelong lessons, which will go beyond the sphere of sports, and it is this value that we believe is the greatest gift that our young players will receive from this experience. We encourage our young players to practise hard and do their best as they strive
The competition over the years has exposed approximately 6,000 boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 16 to basic techniques of the game, and this year will see some 500 schools participating, including defending champions Woodlands Primary from Manchester, and Coburn Gardens All-Age School from St Andrew.
The Sports Development Foundation (SDF)/JN competition will see primary schools playing 25 overs-per-innings, and the all-age schools at 35 overs-per-innings, with two matches being played per day.
After two champions are crowned in all parishes, they will then be placed into four zones -- Western (Westmoreland, Hanover, St James, Trelawny); Eastern: (St Ann, St Mary Portland, St Thomas); Central: (Manchester, Clarendon, St Elizabeth, St Catherine) and Corporate Area: (Kingston and St Andrew).
The winners of the zone finals will advance to the national semi-finals which will then select the teams who will contest the national final scheduled to be contested on June 26 at the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium.
Jamaica National will also be awarding two scholarships to the top performers of the competition.