Fast bowling icon Sir Curtly Ambrose believes it will be difficult for the West Indies to unearth players with similar talents to those from the team’s glory days of the 70s and early 90s because the current crop of players has not grasped what cricket means to the people from the region.

Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez scored and set up another as LA Galaxy earned bragging rights against Los Angeles FC in El Trafico.

In the first Los Angeles derby fixture of the MLS season, former Manchester United and Real Madrid star Chicharito guided the Galaxy to a 2-1 victory on Saturday.

Chicharito, who attempted just one shot in the loss to Seattle Sounders last time out, the sixth time in 10 MLS starts he has taken fewer than two shots (60 per cent) – he attempted fewer than two shots in just 36.7 per cent of his starts in the five major European leagues – improved his league-best tally to six goals with the 11th-minute opener at Dignity Health Sports Park, where he tucked the ball past Pablo Sisniega.

LAFC restored parity 28 minutes from the end when Diego Rossi equalised following some combination play between team-mates Latif Blessing and Corey Baird.

But the Galaxy walked away with maximum points after Chicharito teed up Jonathan dos Santos for the 79th-minute winner.

The Galaxy are second in the Western Conference, level on points with leaders San Jose Earthquakes, while LAFC are four points off the pace in eighth position.

Orlando City captain Nani stayed hot with another goal in the club's 1-1 draw against New York City.

Ex-United winger and Premier League champion Nani scored another memorable goal seven minutes into the second half, finding the back of the net with a stunning effort from the edge of the penalty area.

Nani's third goal in three games had Orlando on track for maximum points until a 77th-minute penalty via Valentin Castellanos salvaged a draw for the visitors.

"I've been working so hard and been focused on my games," Nani said post-match. "I think this is a reward [for] what you do during the week, the preparation into the games."

New York top the Eastern Conference on seven points, level with New England Revolution but a point clear of Orlando, New York Red Bulls and Nashville.

The Revolution lost 2-0 against Nashville, while the Red Bulls ran out 2-0 winners over Toronto.

Elsewhere, defending champions Columbus Crew defeated DC United 3-1, last season's Supporters' Shield winners Philadelphia Union topped Chicago Fire 2-0, Vancouver Whitecaps beat Montreal Impact by the same scoreline, Dallas and Houston Dynamo drew 1-1, while Colorado Rapids edged Minnesota United 3-2.

Substitute Chris Wondolowski stunned Real Salt Lake with two late goals as the San Jose Earthquakes rallied for a 2-1 victory. 

The MLS career scoring leader entered after 72 minutes and soon erased the Rubio Rubin tally that had put Salt Lake ahead just before the half. 

Wondolowski's first goal came from three yards out as he knocked home a rebound from a Carlos Fierro shot that had been parried away by David Ochoa to equalise in the 83rd minute.

The 38-year-old former USA international completed the brace four minutes later, heading home a cross from Fierro to put San Jose on top for good. 

Wondolowski now has 168 goals in his MLS career, 23 more than the next man on the league scoring list, Landon Donovan. 

The striker had signalled his intent to retire following the 2020 season but had a change of heart and re-signed with San Jose on Christmas Day. 

The Earthquakes now sit atop the Western Conference table with nine points from four matches. 

The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) has written to Cricket West Indies requesting a copy of the criteria used to award international retainer contracts and the report submitted by the selection panel on which the decision was made not to award international retainer contracts to Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Romario Shepherd as well as Veerasammy Permaul.

The missive to the CWI comes on the heels of the recent announcement by CWI of 18 players who were offered retainer contracts for the year July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022. Among those who were awarded were newcomers Kyle Mayers, Joshua Da Silva and Nkrumah Bonner, who had standout performances against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

However, there were no contracts for the four Guyanese players, a troubling development for the GCB.

 “The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) notes with great concern the information that Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Romario Shepherd were not awarded International Retainer Contracts by the Cricket West Indies (CWI),” the board said in a statement Friday.

“The GCB is also concerned with the non-award of an International Retainer Contract to Veerasammy Permaul.”

The GCB said it is not aware and was not informed of the criteria used for the award of international retainer contracts nor were any reasons given for the non-award contracts to the four players.

“The non-award of International Retainer Contracts to these players by CWI is a matter of extreme concern to the GCB and to the Guyanese public and the GCB intends to fully investigate this matter,” the GCB said.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors, Roger Harper, believes it is an absolute necessity for players to get used to the idea of having to perform at the very top of their games in order to secure top-class retainer contracts.

The omission of the likes of Roston Chase, Shimron Hetmyer, Shamarh Brooks, Shane Dowrich, Sheldon Cottrell, Rovman Powell, and Oshane Thomas from the international retainer contracts lists, for the upcoming year, has rubbed a few supporters the wrong way.  Particularly, based on the fact that fewer contracts were handed out this year.

However, according to Harper, some players did not meet the minimum criteria for selection or simply did not display the quality need.

“We have to accept that these are performance-based contracts.  So, the contracts are awarded based on performance during the evaluation period, as well as the selection panel must feel that the players must play a major role or form the nucleus of the team going forward,” Harper told members of the media on Thursday.

“The players who were not awarded contracts their performances over the period did not meet the necessary criteria as well as you had new players who came to fore and performed, so they were offered contracts,” he added.

“Going forward as a culture, if we want to see our team progress, if we want to see our team compete with the best in the world.  We have to be more conscious of the fact that we have to earn our stripes and we have to perform consistently.  I think our retainer contracts are given on that basis.”

In addition to playing at least 50 percent of the games during the evaluation period, to be considered, batsmen must average at least 30 in Test and ODI cricket.  For T20Is players the player’s batting average and strike rate combined must be a minimum 150.

 

Opus, a leading publisher of luxury limited-edition books in sports, film and entertainment, has announced a partnership with Usain Bolt to produce the publication of Bolt – The Opus, a luxury limited edition, capturing iconic Olympic moments and treasured memories of the eight-time Olympic gold medalist and 100m and 200m world record holder.

Bolt - The Opus will honour the achievements of the iconic Jamaican, who is regarded as the greatest sprinter of all time having won eight Olympic gold medals and 11 World Championship gold medals and who continues to inspire young people from all backgrounds, cultures and nations.

In addition, the Bolt Foundation serves to create opportunities through education and cultural development for positive changes to help children live their dreams.

Bolt, who retired in 2017, is also a four-time Laureus World Sportsman of the Year and the winner of many other awards across the globe.

According to the publishers, The Opus will be the largest and most luxurious celebration of the sport’s greatest icon, measuring 60cm x 40cm, weighing in at 17kg. Over 260 pages printed on luxurious silk paper will celebrate in the most dynamic way, using high definition photography presented in the most unique way like never before.

It will be in a hand-made clamshell presentation case with the release being followed by a limited number of editions that will be personally signed by Usain making it the greatest tribute to Usain Bolt ever.

An excited Bolt said he is eagerly anticipating the release of the publication.

” I was given the Manchester United OPUS as a gift a few years ago and am thrilled to finally have The Official Usain Bolt Opus,” he said.

“I have seen some sample pages already and am excited that it is going to look amazing and capture all the biggest moments in my career.”

 

The first editions will be ready for release and shipping later this year.

The inaugural final of the Hero CPL Esports Series saw Colin Munro of the Trinbago Knight Riders take on Ish Sodhi of St Kitts & Nevis Patriots with the difficulty level of the game turned up to really challenge these players.

The Knight Riders won the toss and put the Patriots into bat and the first over of the final was full of drama with Khary Pierre picking up both Patriots’ openers with Evin Lewis and Chris Lynn dismissed going for big shots.

That left the Patriots 10-2 at the end of the first over, and that became 17-3 when Sodhi was caught in the ring off the bowling of Ali Khan.

Things didn’t improve when Nick Kelly was run out for a diamond duck to leave the Patriots innings in tatters at 18-4.

Sunil Narine kept the carnage coming when he bowled Ben Dunk for 6 and then did the same to Denesh Ramdin two balls later to leave the Patriots at 22-6.

Fawad Ahmad’s introduction into the attack only further cemented the Patriots’ woes as three more wickets fell, two of them soft run-outs as the batting team finished with 32 all out.

It was a small target but Munro was still feeling the pressure. The Patriots could have had Lendl Simmons dismissed in the first over but Chris Lynn put down a tough chance off Alzarri Joseph at mid-off.

At the other end, Narine found the boundary twice before Simmons was gone, dismissed by Imran Khan. By the end of the second over the Knight Riders were 18/1 with 16 needed from 18 balls.

Sodhi brought himself on to bowl and after a tricky start thanks to two wides, he came back well to get Narine bowled for 10.

That left the Knight Riders needing 11 from 12 and a powerful on-drive for four from Pollard seemed to swing things in his team's favour before he was yet another runout.

At the start of the last over five were needed and the Knight Riders seemed happy to get there in singles, but a wide and a no-ball from Sheldon Cottrell also helped.

It was Munro who hit the winning runs, cover driving for two to win the game by seven wickets with one ball to spare in a thrilling last-over finish to seal the first-ever CPL Esports title.

When former Kingston College student-athlete Sherwayne Allen graduated from Auburn University on Saturday, May 1, he was the only black graduate with a degree in Pure Mathematics. He was also the first member of his immediate family to graduate from university.

Saturday also marked the end of a journey of acquiring his first degree and the start of another, his pursuit of a Master’s in the field of Data Sciences.

Looking back at that day, Allen said it was an emotional time for him.

“I had mixed emotions at my graduation. When I think back to all the obstacles I have faced from Jamaica, in college, being the only black kid in the majority of these classes and was the only black graduate in Mathematics, to now reaching the climax of it all, I was elated so much so that I almost cried,” he told Sportsmax.TV.

"Being the first of my immediate family to go to a university is a great accomplishment for me. Not having my parents experiencing university, made it somewhat of a challenge as certain questions I could not ask them and would have to seek outside help. But my parents are extremely proud of my achievements.

“However, I also had feelings of uncertainty of my next move, although I have opportunities awaiting me. The emotions were so wild that two weeks prior I could not stay asleep. Most days I only got four hours of rest, even throughout my finals and leading up to the big day."

Growing up, life itself was challenging for Allen. The only child for Wayne and Sherrell Allen, Sherwayne was born into humble circumstances in Kingston where he spent the first six years of his life. He revealed that those early years were not easy for him or his family.

“Well, life for me growing up in Richmond Park was a challenge. Some days were worse than others, whether it was the occasional gunshots that would echo or the financial constraints of my parents which motivated me to want better for myself,” he said.

“I am the only child for both my parents. As far I can remember, initially, my dad was working at the JUTC (Jamaica Urban Transit Company) in Spanish Town before being laid off, while my mom went to school for fashion designing at Garmex in downtown Kingston.”

His parents eventually separated and he and his mother moved to Spanish Town, St. Catherine as she sought a better life for herself and her then six-year-old son.

“I moved to Angels (Estates) because my parents were having problems and my mom wanting a better life for us as a family. However, my dad did not come with us,” he recalled.

It was while living in Spanish Town he discovered his passion for engineering.

“I always had an interest in creating traps, trying to catch rodents in my backyard which was always unsuccessful,” he recalled. “However, this sparked my enthusiasm for the field of engineering primarily civil engineering.”

While attending Angels Primary School, Sherwayne developed a liking for sports, specifically football and athletics but it was not until he attended Kingston College, that he found his niche in track and field as well as a lasting friendship with 200/400m standout Akeem Bloomfield.

“Kingston College was one of the best decisions of my life. Due to the ‘all-roundedness’ of the institution, I was exposed to the different lifestyles of my brothers from different parts of Jamaica. While at KC, I started my career in the 800m before transitioning to the 400m hurdles as I thought it would be easier in obtaining a scholarship to study abroad,” he said.

“My friendship with Akeem started from fifth form while we both doing the sciences and track and field at the same time. I remember that year after we both started the season well, closer to the end we got injured. I got injured before Champs while he got injured during Champs and missing an opportunity to make a Jamaica team,” he recalled.

“We then both attended the same extra math class. Coincidentally, we found out we lived in the same neighbourhood.”

Bloomfield, he revealed, influenced his decision to attend Auburn where the bond of friendship became even stronger.

Never an outstanding athlete at KC, Sherwayne did his best to contribute to the school’s pursuit of the coveted Mortimer Geddes trophy, the symbol of high school athletic supremacy at the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships. Between 2012 and 2016, he earned valuable points for the school even as he missed out on medals in the 800m and 400m hurdles.

His performances, though, were good enough to win him a scholarship to Auburn University where while still being a middling performer in the 400m hurdles, he rubbed shoulders with World Championships gold medalists Jonielle Smith and Natalliah Whyte and also forged a new friendship with NCAA 400m medalist and World Championship finalist Nathon Allen. He also strengthened the bonds of a friendship that began at KC with Bloomfield.

But leaving Jamaica to attend school in Alabama, proved to be quite a challenge for Sherwayne, who lifted the lid on what life can be like as a student-athlete in a foreign land.

“The transition from Kingston to Auburn for me was a big culture shock as being from Jamaica to  Alabama was an experience. I oftentimes found it boring, accompanied by the fact that 90 per cent of people there were of different ethnicity, had a different culture, and as such had different ways of doing and saying stuff than what I was accustomed to,” he said.

“I always had to make sure my English was clear and slow while communicating which initially was quite annoying.”

There were other more significant challenges as well.

“I initially ventured off to Auburn to become a civil engineer. However, because of my lack of self-discipline at the time, I lost focus. Because of scholarship requirements, I could not retake the class I had failed and had to switch my major. The school wanted me to do Exercise Science or another "easy" major as it would have been easier for me to pass and compete at the same time,” he said.

“However, I had no intentions of doing that. I found Mathematics as a way of staying close to my dream at the time of becoming an engineer.”

He continued: “Life for me being a student-athlete was rough, especially for me doing such a demanding major. I remember day-after-day full of classes. I would have a workout where I was literally on the verge of seeing the face of God!

“I would then have to take my dead legs up to get dinner really quick and head to tutoring. I would be there from 7 to 10, four days a week for the whole semester. The challenges that came with that for me personally was seeing other student-athletes partying, spending little to no time in tutoring and just living their best life. Also being an athlete we had all these responsibilities, such as going to meetings and early morning drug tests while still having to be a student and maintain the grades in classes so that we can compete.”

However, it was not all bad. Having his fellow Jamaicans close by provided some measure of relief to the grind of life as a student-athlete.

“Sharing a dorm with Nathon was good. I didn't know him prior, other than seeing him run and competing against Akeem. However, he was very humble and quiet. We all built a brotherhood and camaraderie, especially seeing that we all came at the same time and being Jamaicans,” he said.

“I have fond memories of when we were all together always making jokes, cooking and playing games together.”

With graduation, Sherwayne has also chosen to close another chapter of his life as a student-athlete.

 “My athletic career is done. I will take pride in watching Akeem, Nathon, Natalliah, Raheem, Jonielle and my other pro friends compete,” he said. 

Destructive batsman, AB De Villiers, could be part of the South African team booked for a tour to the West Indies next month, which was officially confirmed by Cricket South Africa (CSA) director of cricket Graeme Smith.

 After several months of negotiations, the teams are confirmed to play two Test matches and five Twenty20 Internationals.  The venue, which will be one country, due to existing coronavirus protocols, has not yet been announced.  Originally, it was believed the matches would be held in Trinidad and Tobago, but the country's fresh battle with a COVID-19 surge seems to have put that in doubt.

De Villiers, who played in the Caribbean with the Barbados Tridents in 2016, has not played for the South African team since a Test match against Australia in 2018.  The player has, however, given repeated displays of his jaw-dropping hitting ability for the India Premier League (IPL) franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).

It was last month that South Africa coach Mark Boucher suggested the big hitter could return to the South Africa line-up for the T20 World Cup, scheduled for India from October to November.  It could still be moved due to issues caused by an outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

South Africa has not played in the West Indies since 2016.

West Ham star forward and potential Jamaica international, Michail Antonio, has declared he is hungry for goals following his return to the team’s line-up on Monday.

The burly forward returned in fine style, banging in two goals against Burnley, which gave the Hammers much-needed impetus in the race for the fourth and final Champions League spot.

Antonio’s power upfront will no doubt give the team renewed confidence heading into the final weeks of the season, and the forward himself admits he is feeling in good shape and looking to make up for the lost time.

"I trained with the boys all week so I was always in contention," Antonio told the club’s official website.

"I didn't know if I'd start or not, but I did, managed to get my two goals, and should have had more,” he added.

"I'll keep moving on to the next game and hopefully score more goals."

Antonio did, however, miss out on the perfect opportunity to secure a hat-trick after being gifted a golden chance to make it three when a Pablo Fornals shot fell to him just yards from goal, but the striker got the ball stuck under his feet with the goal gaping.

"It wasn't my day to get the hat-trick, but I got my two, and I can't be greedy."

Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors, Roger Harper, has admitted that there is some concern over the form of batsman Shimron Hetmyer after the player failed to secure a retainer contract.

The 24-year-old explosive batsman has been previously heralded as one of West Indies cricket’s brightest prospects but has not been at his best in recent seasons.

Hetmyer has not played a Test for the regional team since 2019, against Afghanistan, and has not played in a One Day International since January of last year, against Ireland.  In addition to that, the player has twice failed fitness tests during the period.

The batsman missed out on the team’s tour of Sri Lanka in February of last year and then missed out on early selection for the squad this year, after failing another following the arrival of the Sri Lankans to tour the Caribbean.  Hetmyer subsequently passed a follow-up test.

“I still think Shimron is the type of player that has the ability to be a world-class player in every format going forward,” Harper told members of the media via an online video chat on Thursday.

“Naturally, when you have that sort of potential, we want to see it reach the kind of level that he is capable of reaching.  So, yes, we are concerned.  Yes, we will continue to work with Shimron and yes we will try to give the short of focus that we think is required for him to maximise his potential.”

Despite losing out on his regional contract, Hetmyer, however, retains a franchise contract.

 

Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz will play two international friendlies against Nigeria and the United States in June as the team begins preparations for the 2023 World Cup qualifiers that are scheduled to begin in November 2021.

Developing players Kaysia Schultz and Quiana Joseph are among 18 West Indies Women players offered retainer contract for the 2021-2022 season by Cricket West Indies (CWI).

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has welcomed the Jamaican government’s decision to grant approval for the resumption of Jamaica’s Premier League after more than a year of inactivity because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Football was suspended in March 2020 after the virus began to spread across the country.

However, after months of meetings and deliberations, the decision to allow for the resumption of football was announced today by Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Desmond McKenzie following a meeting between representatives of the Ministries of Health and Wellness, and Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Premier League Clubs Association, the Jamaica Football Federation, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management and the Social Development Commission.

“We have been meeting for some time to ensure that all possible mechanisms concerning the efficient prevention and management of COVID-19 are applied to all aspects of Club competition, including the health and safety of players, referees and Club workers and administrators. Further details regarding the starting times and the conditions under which the competitions will be held, will be disclosed at a later date,” Minister McKenzie said.

“Even as the management of COVID-19 remains paramount, the Government is keen for sport to resume in a phased, orderly manner, consistent with the continued reduction in the country’s positivity rate. The impact of sport on social well-being and social development is well recognized, and the Government will support all efforts to promote the enjoyment of sport in the safest way possible. In this regard, the Government is actively considering applications from a range of sporting associations.”

JFF President Michael Ricketts welcomed the news.

“This is very positive news for the stakeholders of football,” Ricketts said in a statement late Wednesday.

“Of course, my first thoughts are with our players and coaches who will now have opportunities open to them to resume the trade that they so love. I also want to commend and thank the partners who have invested, for their patience and loyalty to the sport.

“Finally, thanks to the ministries and state agencies for the work done to get us here. While I am sure the players are overjoyed with the news, I implore them to be constantly mindful of the current local health conditions and act responsibly. While we play, let’s play our part in containing this pandemic. Let the games begin.”

The approval was given for the format that allows clubs to train at their home grounds with the official matches to be held at central venues. Most recently, the PFJL had developed a protocol for the official matches to be held in a controlled environment based on the significant upsurge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Jamaica starting in February. However, with the success of the most recent measures that have cut back the number of new cases, all parties were satisfied that the previous model would align with the current measures.

There is also greater confidence with the start of national vaccination efforts.

The JFF will now work to finalize the design of the format for the official matches following the delay in receiving approval and the resulting shortened season. The JFF will also have to integrate the Jamaica Premier League matches with those on the national and regional calendars as both the Gold Cup and World Cup Qualifiers are being held in the coming months.

Details of the start, duration and league format will be shared in the coming days.

Like most sporting events globally, the Jamaica Premier League will be held without spectators in order to contribute to the nation’s efforts to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. However, fans will be able to enjoy the matches as the PFJL has secured a broadcast partner for the Caribbean who will be responsible for identifying television broadcasters for Jamaica and the region.

Acting General Manager of the PFJL, Arlene L. Martin was very pleased with the go-ahead.

 “The PFJL appreciates the government’s recognition of the importance of the resumption of professional football as well as the confidence in the approved protocol and the ability to comply with these measures. The PFJL has worked with our national and regional stakeholders to develop a thorough protocol that we are confident will support and even enhance the government’s efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to an exciting season with the Clubs and our commercial partners and to delivering quality football to our fans.”

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