West Indies coach Phil Simmonds expects improved bowling performances from spinner Gudakesh Motie in the future after a fruitless debut with the ball against Bangladesh last week.

Overall, the spinner ended the opening Test with no wicket from 16 overs and conceded 43 runs.  The debut stood a far way from his performances in the West Indies Championship this season where he claimed 17 wickets in five matches, earning the attention of the West Indies selectors.

The 27-year-old did, however, make some sort of contribution with the bat after making 23 unbeaten from 21 deliveries, in the first innings.

“He scored a 100 in the Championship, so he can hold the bat and he can score like we saw but his bowling is going to improve,” Simmons said, following the first Test.

“I think when you play in your first Test match there’s always nerves, there’s a lot of things, but his bowling is going to improve,” he added.

While, for the most part, it was the pace bowlers who dominated affairs, Bangladesh spinner Mehidy Hasan claimed 4 for 59 in the first innings to put some pressure on the West Indies batting line-up.  West Indies and Bangladesh will face off in the second and final Test on Friday.

Expect the unexpected!

That’s the word from 2021 World U20 champion Ackera Nugent, who was responding to a question about who she thinks will emerge victorious in the 100m hurdles at Jamaica’s National Senior Championships that get underway at the National Stadium in Kingston on Thursday, June 23.

Nugent, who turned 20 in April, will miss the championships because of injury but is already on the mend as she targets a triumphant return to the track for her junior year at Baylor University. As the second fastest Jamaican woman in the world this year, Nugent will be missed but the field that will assemble is stacked.

Among the women contending for the top three spots will be Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Megan Tapper, 2015 World Championships gold medalist Danielle Williams, who is also the 2019 bronze medallist, 2022 Big 12 Conference Champion Demisha Roswell, Britany Anderson, Crystal Morrison, and Trishauna Hemmings among others.

However, Nugent perhaps one of the most talented hurdlers in her country’s history, was not willing to put her neck on the block given how keenly contested Sunday’s final is expected to be.

“Well, the hurdles is an event that you can’t really have expectations on it because anything can happen in those 12-13-seconds of the race,” she reasoned.

“So it’s a thing where you have to expect the unexpected.”

She does expect to be back better and stronger than ever for the coming 2022/2023 NCAA season.

Mere days after running a personal best 12.45 to finish second to Roswell at the Big 12 Championships, Nugent, citing injury, shut down her season in early June. It was a decision that meant that she would miss the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships in Oregon as well as Jamaica’s National Championships where she was expected to be among the athletes making the team to the World Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, where the NCAA Championships were also held.

She revealed the circumstances that led to her decision.

“I had been having ankle problems this season more than normal but I was able to compete but at regionals, running the 4x100m I tore my plantar fascia (the thick tendon that connects the heel and the toes) and it was really bad,” she recalled.

Despite the injury, she said, she soldiered on, which made things worse.

“Knowing me as somebody that’s like ‘I have a next race to go do, let’s knock it out the way. I took some pain killers and I wrapped my leg up and went out there to compete and when I realized in the race it was getting really bad I slowed up and was still able to make nationals and then I looked and saw how swollen my foot was and I was like ‘I don’t think I have enough time to recover and make it for nationals’ so I decided to close my season down.”

As it stands, she is now able to walk and can run a little but thinks it best to give herself time to heal ahead of next season. “I don’t think it’s a smart decision to run so now I will be focusing on recovering, rehabbing and getting stronger. I have enough time to get better, to get stronger so I will be ready for next year,” she said.

 

 

 

 

 

Jamaica’s Under-20 Reggae Boyz suffered a humiliating 5-0 defeat to hosts Honduras in their second game at the Concacaf Under-20 Championships at the Estadio Francisco Morazan in San Pedro Sula on Monday.

The hosts took an early lead through a Marco Aceituno header in the third minute.

The lead was doubled when Aceituno got his second of the game after Jamaican goalkeeper Coniah Boyce-Clarke failed to block his left-footed strike from inside the box.

The young Reggae Boyz’ task was made more difficult when they were reduced to 10 men after Lamont Rochester was sent off in first half stoppage time.

The start of the second half brought no extra luck for the Jamaicans as Isaac Castillo slotted home to make it 3-0 for Honduras in the 48th minute.

The hosts got a fourth in the 58th minute through substitute Jefry Macias.

The scoring was completed in the 84th minute when Macias got his second goal to make it 5-0.

Honduras now leads Group D with six points from two games while Jamaica sits third with one.

Costa Rica got a 3-0 win over Antigua and Barbuda in Monday’s other Group D game to move to four points while their opponents have two losses.

Wednesday will see Jamaica play the Antiguans while Honduras will do battle with Costa Rica.

 

The Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG), home of West Indies Cricket, is entering the final phase for major development planning which will transform the ICC accredited facility into a truly state of the art cricket and cultural heritage centre, Cricket West Indies announced on Friday.

Infrastructural work and rehabilitation are expected to commence later this year that will see CCG become a world class centre of cricket with linkages to several other smaller cricket academies across the region.

CCG will be able to adequately host training camps and player remedial work as well as stage international matches at all levels. This will include an Emerging Players Academy and the construction of an ultra-modern indoor/outdoor facility with several inputs for players’ preparation, including medical, training, fitness, and gym facilities.

“A strategic approach to master planning of the facility is well underway, and we are stepping into a new frontier as we seek to make CCG the 'flagship’ where players from the grassroots to the international level can develop and hone their technical and mental skills. We envision the CCG of the future as a truly world-class facility with all the amenities,” said Nelecia Yeates, General Manager of CCG.

“Fans attending matches at the ‘new CCG’ will also have an exceptional spectator experience. We will leave no stone unturned as we hold firm to the commitment and belief that all islands of the Caribbean can be the birthplace of greatness in our sport, both on the off the field,” Yeates added.

As part of the redevelopment project for the 20-acre facility, CCG has announced the appointment of a design collective consisting of CJC + Associates Inc., KSS Design Group Ltd and Melon Design Architecture to design and develop a transformational high-performance, world-class concept master plan.

“We were hugely impressed by the quality of all the responses for our Request for Proposals. But the level of information showcased in the design collective proposal was both impressive and inspiring. The winners have shown exceptional talent and promise, and aligned well with CWI’s vision to create a uniquely West Indian and world class cricket and heritage centre,” said Ricky Skerritt, President of CWI and Chairman of CCG.

“It is a huge achievement and opportunity, yet a humbling experience to be selected the winners, even more so with the high standard of entries as was expressed by the client,” said Colin John Jenkins on behalf of the design collective (CJC+ Associates Inc., KSS Design Group Ltd and Melon Design Architecture).

Within the next few months, Jenkins and the design collective team are expected to submit draft master plans to CCG and CWI for final design and costing approval.

 

West Indies Head Coach Phil Simmons has praised Captain Kraigg Brathwaite’s determination after the team’s seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh in the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Sunday.

In the first innings, Brathwaite made 94 off 268 balls, batting for 400 minutes in the process.

“There’s not much to tell as a batsman because I think everybody’s seen his determination and unique style,” Simmons said in an interview after the match.

“He doesn’t have a problem being there for five days and doing his job which is unique because a lot of batsmen nowadays want to play shots and be done with it but, from his point of view, he wants to be there all the time for his team and that rolls into the captaincy,” he added.

Since being named permanent Captain in March 2021, Brathwaite has led the team to a series win against England and drawn series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

“He seems to be growing into the role as we go along,” Simmons said.

“He’s not loud but the players know what he wants in his unique way. He makes them understand what he wants from them,” he added.

Brathwaite’s next assignment will be to lead the team to victory in the second test against Bangladesh which begins on Friday at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in St. Lucia.

 

The top team in the Eastern Conference had to settle for a draw on Sunday as New York City hosted the Western Conference's Colorado Rapids for a 1-1 draw at Yankee Stadium.

There was no doubt about who the dominant side was on the day, as City finished with 66 per cent possession and 16 shots to the Rapids' six, while completing nearly double the amount of passes (529-271).

Despite their struggles, it would be Colorado who broke the deadlock as Michael Barrios struck a low drive into the bottom-left corner from the edge of the area in the 68th minute.

The lead would be short-lived, with Talles Magno expertly controlling a cross on his chest before volleying in the equaliser less than five minutes later in the 72nd minute.

New York would produce multiple quality opportunities down the stretch, but the Colorado defense would hold firm and take a valuable point away from home, slightly improving their standing up to ninth in the Western Conference.

City remain one point clear of New York Red Bulls atop the East, while further down the table Atlanta United were convincing 2-0 winners against Inter Miami.

Atlanta were in control all game, taking the lead through a Luiz Araujo strike in the fourth minute and finishing with 60 per cent possession.

It was Josef Martinez who assisted Araujo's goal, and Araujo returned the favour, assisting Martinez in the 61st minute to double United's advantage and allow the home side to cruise to the win.

New England came from a goal down to defeat Minnesota United 2-1 at home after the visitors went ahead in the 37th minute through an Emanuel Reynoso penalty.

Minnesota were deserving leaders early, with 10 shots to one in the first half, and all five of the game's shots on target.

That all flipped on its head in the second half, as New England were able to produce 10 shots compared to United's three, with 20-year-old Dylan Borrero equalising in the 53rd minute, before Gustavo Bou scored a terrific free-kick winner in the 69th.

Rounding out Sunday's action was a surprise result as the team with the worst goal differential in the league – Sporting KC (minus 14) – defeated Nashville SC 2-1 on the road.

In a scrappy, defensive battle, neither side finished with more than 0.80 expected goals, but it would be the visitors who were more clinical with their two goals both coming from well outside the penalty area.

Felipe Hernandez scored the game's first goal with an indirect free kick from close to 40 yards out as the bounce beat the Nashville goalie, before Graham Zusi curled in a beauty into the far post with his left boot. Sporting KC finished with 0.35 expected goals.

Windies fast bowler Kemar Roach has admitted to feeling a tremendous sense of pride after joining legendary pace bowler Michael Holding on 249 Test wickets on the all-time West Indies Test wickets list.

On Saturday, the 33-year-old put in another stirring performance against one of his favourite opponents, Bangladesh.  The bowler’s 10th five-wicket haul, on this occasion figures of 5 for 54, not only left the West Indies on the verge of winning the first Test but represented a huge personal milestone.

His latest tally sees the bowler now tied for 6th all-time on the list of the regional team’s top wicket-takers, shoulder to shoulder with the revered Holding, and 10 behind Joel Garner for 5th.  The significance of the moment was not lost on the player, who made his Test debut against the same opponents in 2009.

 “I’m proud.  I’m proud to know how I started, obviously, I came into the team under very difficult conditions, and to build a career and get among the greats is a good feeling,” Roach said.

“I’m one for stats, I love my stats.  I'm always checking once I'm not playing, so it’s always good to be among the greats,” he added.

With more left in the tank, the bowler has targeted the 300 wickets milestone, which would put him 9 behind spinner Lance Gibbs and fifth on the all-time list.

“I’d love 300 Test wickets.  I’m at 249, I have about two to three more years left in me, so that’s the target.”

New York RB momentarily secured a three-way tie atop the Eastern Conference in the MLS, defeating Toronto FC 2-0 on Saturday.

Goals from Lewis Morgan and Luquinhas secured the three points for NYRB, with Morgan scoring his seventh for the season, heading in from a corner in only the second minute.

Luquinhas assured the three points in the 56th, spectacularly chipping over Quentin Westberg from outside the penalty area after Tom Barlow was initially denied when put through one-on-one.

With only one win in their previous six games, the three points were critical for Gerhard Struber's side.

The Philadelphia Union could only secure a 1-1 draw at home to Cincinnati, meaning they join New York City on 26 points at the top of the Eastern Conference, but City are still to play on Sunday against the Colorado Rapids.

An Ercan Kara brace helped Orlando City move into fourth position in the East, backing up from Wednesday's draw in New England to beat Houston Dynamo 2-1.

They leapfrogged CF Montreal, who lost 1-0 to a ten-man Austin FC, following Maxi Urruti's goal in the 67th minute.

Elsewhere in the East, Chicago Fire defeated DC United 1-0 in the battle between the conference's bottom-placed teams, while Columbus Crew and Charlotte played out a 1-1 draw.

There were also stalemates at the top of the Western Conference, with Los Angeles FC and the Seattle Sounders managing a 1-1 draw, as well as Los Angeles Galaxy and Portland Timbers.

It allowed Real Salt Lake to move two points from LAFC, following their 2-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes in Saturday's final game.

Salt Lake captain Marcelo Silva opened the scoring in the 22nd minute after Jefferson Savarino's flick-on from a corner, and Savarino doubled the margin in the 81st with a fine solo effort.

The Vancouver Whitecaps stayed within touching of the West's playoff spots, meanwhile, defeating FC Dallas 2-0.

A late penalty from Jahmari Clarke saw Jamaica’s U-20 Reggae Boyz secure a 1-1 come-from-behind draw and share of the points against Costa Rica in Group D of the CONCACAF Under-20 Championships, in Honduras, on Saturday.

After a scoreless first half, which saw both teams unable to take advantage of limited opportunities to find the back of the net, Dorian Rodríguez gave Costa Rica the advantage with a well-placed header in the 58th minute.

The Jamaicans missed a golden opportunity to get back on level terms when Julián González brought down livewire substitute Chad James in the area.  Duncan Mckenzie, however, missed the resulting penalty, with Costa Ria custodian Bayron Mora diving sharply to his left to stop the effort.

Los Ticos seemed destined for all three points but Andrey Salmerón’s 87th-minute shot came crashing back off the crossbar as the Jamaicans held on.  In a hefty chunk of time added on, however, Clarke was wrestled to the ground by Brandon Calderón for another penalty.  This time the forward did make use of the advantage, sending Mora the wrong way to bring the team back on level terms, only just seconds before the final whistle.

In the day’s other encounter, Cuba scored a 1-0 win over Canada in Group E.  Kevin Martín got the winning goal in the 42nd minute.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite has expressed disappointment on missing out on triple figures against Bangladesh but was satisfied in playing a crucial innings on day 2 of the second Test.

The opening batsman crafted a resilient 94 from 268 balls, a resilient 400 minutes that went a long way towards anchoring the team’s total of 265 and a first-innings lead.

Just short of a deserved 11th Test century, the batsman was, however, deceived by Khaled Ahmed and sent back to the pavilion just four short of the coveted total.

“Obviously, I was a little disappointed but I’m happy that the team has formed a lead and it will be key for us to start well tomorrow,” Brathwaite told members of the media on Friday.

“The most important thing was to build a foundation for me, and my team and I was happy with the time I spent.  So well done to the team for getting a lead,” he added.

The West Indies will enter the third day with a lead of 112 runs, after ending the day on 52 for 2.

 

 Former Jamaica captain Nehemiah Perry believes the development of talented fast bowler O’Shane Thompson would have been aided greatly by featuring in more red-ball matches.

The fast bowler got the attention of the region and world in 2017 when he bowled with express pace at the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).  Despite some promising cameos, however, Thomas has not lived up to that promise and is currently out of the Windies squad.

The player’s conditioning has also been a source of concern with the bowler looking several pounds overweight and not approaching speeds seen earlier on.  Perry believes, however, that a part of the problem was the player’s introduction in the shortest format.

“When I saw O’Shane and he was bowling real quick, yes there were some inconsistencies in his delivery but when he gets right he can be very lethal,” Perry told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“I said to my colleagues in the Caribbean and Jamaica, we need to play O’Shane Thomas in four-day cricket. He needs to play the long version of the game, he needs to learn how to bowl.  Learn the art of bowling.

“If you blood someone in T20 cricket where all they have to do is bowl short, not sure were you going to land the delivery.  If you play four-day cricket and you are bowling 20 overs a day you are going to learn the art of bowling and bowling more consistently,” he added.

‘Your body will be stronger and you will have a better work ethic.”

 Former West Indies batsman and Jamaica captain Nehemiah Perry insists the evident lack of proper fitness programs for several professional cricketers around the Caribbean remains unacceptable.

The topic of player fitness has been a hot-button issue in recent years, with a few cricketers failing fitness tests and others on occasions noticeably overweight.  The issue is back in the spotlight following the recently concluded Women's T20 Blaze where Jamaica were crowned champions. 

Some critics have pointed to the lack of a regulatory fitness program for the regional, players but Perry insists it must also be an issue of personal responsibility.

“I don’t think enough work is being put into our cricketers and our cricketers are not properly monitoring themselves.  They eat anything they want, they eat KFC, they eat Burger King, they eat Chinese, they don’t have a proper program,” Perry told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“A part of the program is nutrition.  You have to be eating properly to be a top-class cricketer because your body is going to need it, because, it brings the best out of your body.  Rehydration, you go to the beach, you swim, you do all of these things, you follow a specific program,” he added.

“Players aren’t following that, they go on their phones and they go and sit in the dressing room and do nothing and then they go home and put on weight.  How can you be a professional cricketer and a be putting on weight?  You are not supposed to be putting on weight.”

Jamaica Reggae Boyz goalkeeper Andre Blake insists the team would love to focus on solely football issues but insist on being given adequate means needed to succeed.

The custodian made a triumphant return between the sticks for the Jamaica national team and certainly did his part in ensuring the team got at least a share of the points with Mexico.  Blake had missed the two previous games after pulling out of the team ahead of the first match with Suriname, following the team’s issues with Jamaica Football Federation general secretary Dalton Wint.

 The team and the JFF have had several disputes over the last few years, most notably ahead of the World Cup qualifiers when the team went on strike.  According to the player, the team would love to focus on on-the-field issues.

“If we are going to win, we have to be put in the best position to win.  For me, leadership is very important.  No matter how good you are you need people that are going to appreciate you and set you up to win,” Blake told journalists after the match.

We are going to always demand that, and we are always going to do what we need to do to get that.  When we come here to play football and just football.  So, when we come and have to deal with issues that aren’t even necessary, it’s toxic.”

Veteran West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach has been passed fit ahead of Thursday’s series against Bangladesh.

The Windies front-line bowler was a doubt for the series after sustaining an injury while playing for Surrey in the English County Championship. However, on Wednesday, on the eve of the series, Roach was passed fit and has been added as the 13th member of the squad.

Roach is the highest-ranked bowler West Indies bowler in the ICC rankings and is West Indies’ leading current wicket-taker in Test matches.

The bowler has typically done well against Bangladesh, claiming a total of 34 wickets in 9 matches.  His career-best figures of 6-48 came against Bangladesh in 2009.  The player will also have fond memories of playing Bangladesh at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, with his best figures at the venue of 5-8 also coming against Bangladesh in 2018.

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