Women’s cricket will take centre-stage in the coming week as Cricket West Indies (CWI) continues to unfold its plan to grow the game and create more opportunities for females who are keen to develop their skills and help increase participation in the sport, at all levels.

CWI will deliver a series of free events — featuring several former players and administrators — which include an Online Women’s Foundation Coaching Course for over 80 present and past players, an interview series with special guests that explores the past, present and future of West Indies women’s cricket, as well as several Cricket Development Workshops held in Antigua. The aim of these initiatives is to engage, inspire and recruit more female players, coaches and course facilitators.

CWI President, Ricky Skerritt, will address the participants at the start of the virtual training session on Tuesday evening. In response to a question following his speech at the recent UWI Frank Worrell Lecture series, Skerritt promised that West Indies Women’s Cricket would soon see an increased attention and focus which he said should help vitalize Women’s cricket and strengthen the female cricketer’s pathway from grassroots to the international stage. The President highlighted the recent appointment of Courtney Walsh, as one of the key steps already taken.

Chris Brabazon, the CWI’s Coaching Development Manager, will be part of the CWI team who will be delivering these events in collaboration with Territorial Boards, Ministries of Sport and a host of past greats and contributors to West Indies cricket.

“In what is a hugely exciting time for women’s cricket with the inaugural ICC Women’s Under-19s and Cricket World Cups on the horizon, we want to ensure that women and girls from across the Caribbean feel that they can be part of the game in a playing, coaching or administrative capacity at any level as their involvement is crucial to a thriving and sustainable cricket pathway,” Brabazon said.

“The response to this week’s Online Foundation Course has been overwhelming with over 80 women signed up to take part in the event which is a clear reflection of the passion that exists for the game. The course will be held online, via Zoom, over two evenings due to the present COVID-19 restrictions.

“We will also be releasing a series of interviews and presentations that highlight the rich heritage of women’s cricket, the current landscape and the future direction which will bring together some of the ‘best of the best’ to share their views including newly appointed West Indies Women’s Coach, Courtney Walsh, Jimmy Adams, Merissa Aguilleira and Anne Browne-John.”

West Indies batsman Darren Bravo believes that being appointed captain of the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in January aided in his development and his maturity as a cricketer.

Dallas and Sporting Kansas City advanced in the MLS Cup play-offs after thrilling penalty shoot-out wins on Sunday.

Ricardo Pepi's 93rd-minute equaliser for Dallas cancelled out Jorge Villafana's opener for the Portland Timbers at Providence Park.

And after a marathon 16 penalties, Dallas prevailed 8-7 in the shoot-out as Jimmy Maurer saved from Villafana for the match-winning moment.

The opener came in the 82nd minute, Diego Valeri playing a pass to put Villafana in behind and the defender powered a finish into the roof of the net.

Valeri's assist was his 10th direct shot involvement in the match – four shots and six chances created – the most by a Timbers player in an MLS Cup play-offs match, according to Opta.

Just as Portland looked set to advance, Dallas equalised in the 93rd minute, Ricardo Pepi, 17, finishing a rebound after Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark managed to save his initial effort onto the post.

It was the fourth time this MLS season that Portland had conceded a second-half stoppage-time equaliser. No other team has allowed more than two.

Valeri hit the post in the dying moments of extra time as the third penalty shoot-out through seven play-offs matches followed, already equalling the most traditional shoot-outs in a single postseason in MLS history.

After the first 15 penalties of the shoot-out were scored, Villafana was denied by Maurer, who sent Dallas through.

Los Angeles FC or the Seattle Sounders await Dallas in the Western Conference semi-finals.

Sporting Kansas City advanced after a thrilling penalty shoot-out win over the San Jose Earthquakes at Children's Mercy Park, where their encounter finished locked at 3-3.

Gianluca Busio looked to have won the encounter in additional time for Sporting, finishing after a wonderful flick from Khiry Shelton in the 91st minute to make it 3-2.

However, there was even more drama to follow, Chris Wondolowski heading in a 97th-minute equaliser from close range after Cristian Espinoza's cross.

Sporting goalkeeper Tim Melia would be the hero in the shoot-out, saving spot-kicks from Oswaldo Alanis, Jackson Yueill and Espinoza as Johnny Russell, Ilie and Shelton scored.

Melia became the first goalkeeper to shut out an opponent in a traditional penalty shoot-out in MLS Cup play-offs history.

In the Western Conference semi-finals, Sporting will face Minnesota United, who beat the Colorado Rapids 3-0 thanks to a brace from Kevin Molino.

Darren Bravo said challenging himself to bat for as long as possible was the key factor behind his century against New Zealand A on Saturday.

West Indies bowlers once again showed a lack of a cutting edge as their three-day match against New Zealand ‘A’ petered out to a dull draw at the John Davies Oval at Queenstown on Sunday.

Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja will not soon forget his side's "insane" penalty shootout win over New York City on Saturday.

One of the most remarkable endings to an MLS playoff match saw Orlando triumph 6-5 after Rodrigo Schlegel, the substitute defender, stepped up as emergency goalkeeper and saved from Gudmundur Thorarinsson.

Schlegel volunteered to go in goal after Pedro Gallese had been sent off for a second yellow card for encroachment during the spot-kicks, which lasted for more than 21 and a half minutes.

Gallese, who kept 10-man Orlando in the contest as the match finished 1-1 after extra time, was sent off having already celebrated what he thought was a decisive save from Taty Castellanos.

With Pareja unable to introduce replacement keeper Brian Rowe, Schlegel donned the gloves and kept out Thorarinsson's effort, allowing Benji Michel to seal a sudden-death victory and give Orlando their first ever playoff win.

"I think we'll need more time to calm down and reflect on what happened," Pareja told reporters. "The analysis of the game, it may wait for tomorrow [Sunday] when we can analyse the soccer side.

"What just happened at the end, I never saw it before. And this is the beauty of this game, that we're humans and full of emotions and mistakes and good things and all of that. But today the ball [was] bouncing our way.

"After what just happened I can laugh, but believe me, this is insane tonight."

Pareja described Orlando as "10 men on the field multiplying themselves for this team, that made me very proud" after Ruan's reckless challenge in the 87th minute handed New York the initiative.

"The boys showed the heart of this franchise. They showed with all that intensity, sacrifice after we lost Ruan," he said.

"Obviously we need to make many corrections and many things that happened in that last part, but we are proud to represent this community. We are proud to win and beat one of the best teams in Major League Soccer.

"We will prepare [for] the next game, because this doesn't stop, but what happened today, that will keep in my memory forever."

Amid the chaos of the penalties, Pareja will always remember four simple words from Schlegel that changed Orlando's fate: "Papi, I can do that."

"Rodri told [Gallese], 'I was a goalkeeper when I was in the academy.' So, we just gave him the gloves and prayed," Pareja said. "That was very chaotic, for sure."

Schlegel, who was making only his 11th appearance for the Lions since joining on loan from Racing Club, recalled: "I wasn't really able to think about too much.

"When I was able to make the stop, I thought that we had won and it was a lot of happiness, but then we had to wait for Benji to take his kick, and then just a bunch of happiness and thinking what luck we had."

An unforgettable ending to the game means Orlando, who reached the final of the MLS is Back Tournament in August, are into a first Eastern Conference semi-final against either Philadelphia Union or New England Revolution.

"It means a lot, being in the playoffs, and just sending a message to the community that we're not just content with just bringing them to the playoffs, that the players want more," Pareja added.

"They know that the responsibility is on our shoulders to bring joy, and to make this team protagonist of Major League Soccer. With all these circumstances, what happened, it magnifies what they've done, what they did today.

"It has been a long journey, this year, with all that happened, with the pandemic, with people being in their houses and not being able to come to the stadium, people suffering and many others losing their loved ones. And we have such emotions in our body, in our minds that we want to get out, and today the game gave us that opportunity, to bring all those emotions."

Former West Indies pace bowler Tony Gray has expressed concern with the bowling technique of spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, which he believes could eventually lead to the player suffering injury issues.

Another former player, legendary spinner Lance Gibbs, sparked controversy after questioning the effectiveness of the player’s short run-up technique last year.  Taking the analysis a step further, however, Gray believes the unusual technique could also put a strain on the player’s body.

Cornwall has constantly faced criticism for his overall fitness level but has achieved some measure of success despite that.   At an estimated 1.96 m and 308 lbs, he is believed to be the heaviest man to ever play Test cricket.

“I ask the question that has never been answered.  Is Cornwall’s problem genetic, because if it’s genetic it’s going to be difficult to lose the weight?  If not, why hasn’t he lost the weight yet, since the under-19 level,” Gray said recently on the Mason and Guest radio program.

“I share Lance Gibbs's opinion…the thing about it is if you look at Cornwall’s mechanics, he is a big guy, he takes two steps and it puts a lot of pressure on his body," he added.

“He had a knee operational earlier this year, not a serious one but he still had some pressure on that knee.  My thing with him is that early on in his career he should have been coached with better mechanics, giving him at least four or five steps.  Spinners who can rip the ball, they don’t only use their wrist or their fingers, but obviously, their body as well and you can’t use your body if you are taking only two steps.”

 

Columbus Crew booked their place in the Eastern Conference semi-finals with a 3-2 victory over Gerhard Struber's New York Red Bulls in the MLS Cup playoffs.

Struber, taking charge of his first Red Bulls game, saw Caden Clark put his side ahead in the 23rd minute of Saturday's knockout clash at MAPFRE Stadium

Yet Pedro Santos' penalty restored parity inside three minutes, and Darlington Nagbe struck just 23 seconds into the second half to complete the turnaround.

Gyasi Zardes made it 3-1 in the 68th minute, sending a floated header back across goal after latching onto Derrick Etienne Jr's cross.

Struber had hope when Brian White pulled one back in the 90th minute, though it proved nothing more than a footnote after Tom Barlow missed the chance to equalise in stoppage time.

The Crew join Orlando City in the semi-finals, with the Florida team having overcome New York City FC 6-5 in a remarkable penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw.

The resurfacing of Jamaica’s National Stadium track and a similar project at Catherine Hall Sports Complex are scheduled to get underway in coming months, according to Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange.

Both projects will fall within the remit of a government maintenance program geared towards ensuring that money is set aside for upgrading the island's stadiums.  According to Grange, resurfacing work at the National Stadium is expected to begin “any time now, with Catherine Hall Sports Complex penciled in as a priority for the next year.

According to Grange two factors will determine when the work gets going at the National Stadium.  The first is the fact that the track has to be laid on a completely dried surface, and the process must therefore await the end of seasonal rains.  The other factor is the ability of the manufacturers' representatives, BSW of Germany, to leave Germany to come to Jamaica to supervise the project and that will depend on COVID restrictions.

“The material for the resurfacing of the Stadium track is on site. Upgrading after 10 years of usage is now necessary for the track to retain its Class 1 certification by World Athletics, formerly the International Association of Athletics Federations. The track was laid in 2010 with a projected lifespan of eight years. But because of maintenance and care we were able to extend it by another two years to 2020,” Grange said.

 “The Government is putting a maintenance/replacement program to ensure that there is money for upgrading stadiums. It is through such a plan for the National Stadium that we have money for a new track. Money was actually put aside for the National Stadium because of proper planning and going forward we will be using that approach for upgrading of the facilities.”

Returning West Indies batsman Darren Bravo crafted an enterprising century to anchor the team’s efforts on day two of the three-day First Class match against New Zealand A on Friday.

Bravo made 135 from 214 balls as the regional team ended the day at 329-6, inching 21 runs ahead of the Blackcaps' first innings total of 308 for 3 declared.  Bravo, 31, one of the most capped members of the West Indies Test squad on the Tour of New Zealand with 54 matches behind him, batted a little more than 4½ hours at the crease after he started the day on eight. Bravo raced towards his hundred in a volley of strokes, mostly off left-arm spinner Michael Rippon.

 In reaching the target, Bravo struck 13 fours and five sixes and formed a third-wicket partnership with Shamarh Brooks that was worth 122.

Brooks made 80 from 152 balls, with the team also receiving contributions from newly appointed vice-captain Roston Chase who made 41 from 62 balls.  The New Zealand bowling line-up did not feature anyone likely to gain selection for the official matches and no bowler claimed more than one wicket.

The first Test between New Zealand and West Indies starts on December 3 at Seddon Park in Hamilton and the second Test begins on December 11 at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.

 

Scores

New Zealand A 308-3 declared (R Ravindra 112, H Nicholls 76, D Conway 46no, J Carter 41no) v West Indies 329-6 (D Bravo 135, S Brooks 80, R Chase 41) in Queenstown.

 

 

 Haitian soccer federation president Yves Jean-Bart was banned from the sport for life on Friday following accusations of systematic sexual abuse of female players.

The FIFA ethics committee found Jean-Bart guilty of “having abused his position and sexually harassed and abused various female players, including minors” from 2014 until this year.

The 73-year-old official was also fined 1 million Swiss francs ($1.1 million).

Jean-Bart has denied the allegations, which involve national team players, including minors. The local Haitian judicial system so far has refused to file charges, with a judge declaring last week there is no evidence.

The accusations were first revealed by British newspaper The Guardian in April.

Haiti follows Afghanistan in having its long-time soccer leader expelled from the sport by FIFA after players in the women’s national teams alleged widespread sexual abuse.

An appeal will be filed at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, a spokesman for Jean-Bart said in a statement.

“FIFA’s decision is a travesty of justice and purely political move to avoid further controversy and bad press following a series of high-profile scandals," spokesman Evan Nierman said.

The abuse is said to have happened at the country’s national training center at Croix-des-Bouquets, which FIFA helped fund. It was known as “The Ranch.”

As the head of Haitian soccer since 2000, Jean-Bart “wielded huge power … and has high-level connections into the government, political and legal systems,” Human Rights Watch said.

Haitian state authorities have been urged by the advocacy group to investigate the allegations and protect the players, who also said they were intimidated and threatened.

“This is not a case of one bad apple," Human Rights Watch global initiatives director Minky Worden said ahead of the FIFA verdict. "Athletes have testified that many other officials in the Haitian Football Federation — officials responsible for their safety — either participated in sexual abuse or knew and turned a blind eye.”

Three other Haitian federation officials have been suspended from work while FIFA investigators gather evidence: technical director Wilner Etienne, national center girls' supervisor Nela Joseph and assistant coach Yvette Félix.

FIFA said Friday that federation officials are accused of being “principals, accomplices or instigators” in the systematic abuse.

World players’ union FIFPro praised “the extraordinary courage of the survivors, victims and witnesses.”

The union said Haitian soccer officials misused their power “to lure in young children, often from impoverished backgrounds, so they could groom, manipulate as well as sexually and emotionally abuse them.”

Jean-Bart had been “actually investigated and cleared” by the judicial system in Haiti, his spokesman said.

"FIFA failed to review actual evidence, which is why Dr. Jean-Bart expects to be fully exonerated and reinstated after appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport,” Nierman said.

In the appeal case of Afghan soccer official Keramuddin Karim, CAS upheld FIFA’s punishment and said: “With his appalling acts, he had destroyed not only their careers, but severely damaged their lives.”

Last week, an investigative judge in Haiti ruled that authorities found no evidence to press charges against Jean-Bart despite the allegations.

In the Nov. 12 ruling made public this week, the judge noted that the government’s investigation included visits to the national training center and interviews with certain players. He wrote that none of the accusers identified any victims and that human rights organizations “shined for their absence” when asked to meet with officials as part of the investigation. He did not identify those organizations.

Marie-Yolène Gilles, executive director of the human rights group Fondasyon Je Kler, told The Associated Press that she was disappointed in the ruling and disagreed with it.

“If you have money, you’re able to get justice,” she said.

Justice officials in Croix-des-Bouquets could not be immediately reached for comment.

Gilles said victims have the right to appeal the ruling, but it wasn’t known yet if they planned to do so.

Since the allegations were revealed, FIFA has pledged to work on safeguarding players in an agreement with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Gustavo Bou's 95th-minute winner settled a thrilling MLS play-off clash as New England Revolution prevailed 2-1 against Thierry Henry's Montreal Impact on Friday.

Bou struck at the death in the play-in match at Gillette Stadium, where the Revolution earned a date with Philadelphia Union in the opening round of the MLS Cup play-offs.

The Argentine forward's goal came on his eighth shot of the match, the most by a Revolution player in a play-off match in club history, per Opta.

Bou's match-winning effort – officially timed at 94 minutes, 37 seconds – is New England's latest winning goal since Kelyn Rowe at 95:47 in 2017.

The tie was level after Montreal's Romell Quioto cancelled out Carles Gil's 38th-minute opener just past the hour mark – the Impact scoring in 21 consecutive away matches (including play-off games), the longest streak in MLS history.

In the day's other play-in fixture, Nashville eased past David Beckham's Inter Miami 3-0.

In a battle of the 2020 expansion sides, Nashville progressed to face Toronto thanks to goals from Randall Leal, Hany Mukhtar and Dax McCarty.

A two-goal first half, fuelled by Leal and Mukhtar, set the tone as Nashville became the first true expansion team to win a play-off match since Chicago Fire in 1998, according to Opta.

West Indies women’s team captain Stafanie Taylor has praised players and several teams in the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) for their continued support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The symbolic gesture of taking a knee in support of racial equality spread around the globe an adopted by many sports in the aftermath of the death of an African American man, George Floyd, at the hands of the police earlier this year.

To some extent, the symbolic action has fizzled out in the sport of cricket, with some teams claiming other more concrete options in pursuit of equality are being pursued.  The WBBL has, however, continued to support the gesture and Taylor has been appreciative of it.

 "We have been taking a knee throughout the whole tournament and I am so pleased with the support I got from my teammate, it was really fantastic,” Taylor, who plays for Adelaide Strikers, told the Daily Telegraph.

“Sometimes I even forget, and Megan Schutt will say to me; Stafanie, don’t forget we’ve got to take a knee,” she added.

Taylor also thanked Sydney Thunder and Hobart Hurricanes for statements made by the teams and praised individual players from other teams for adopting the gesture.

“While I wish that all players from all eight teams competing in the WBBL this year were taking a knee, BLM is a global movement and I’m proud that cricket is helping to stamp out racism on and off the field.”

 

 

The Guyana Cricket Board Tropical Spring Over 40 T20 Competition bowls off on Saturday, November 21, across grounds in three counties in what will be the first competition held since the GCB was forced to suspend activities due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sixteen teams will compete for a first prize of Guy$250,00 while the runners up will secure Guy$100,000.

Eight teams in Demerara will compete for four quarter-final places, four Essequibo teams will battle for two quarter-final places while four teams representing the Berbice region will compete for two quarter – final places.

The preliminary round of matches will conclude on Saturday, 5 December 2020 with the quarter-finals being held on Sunday, 6 December 2020. The semi-finals have been scheduled for Friday, 11 December 2020 and the Final on Saturday, 12 December 2020.

Games in Demerara will be played at the Everest and Enmore cricket grounds while the Berbice matches will be played at Jai Hind ground. The Essequibo-leg of matches will take place at Imam Bacchus’ ground.

The GCB said it was grateful to the Ministry of Health and the country’s COVID-19 Task force for granting approval for the return to competition and has called on all players and officials to ensure that there is strict adherence to the Covid-19 protocols.

Further, GCB extends gratitude to tournament sponsor, Tropical Spring.

The teams: Reliance Sports Club, Invaders Masters, Imam Bacchus Over 40, Jaguars Over 40, West Demerara Masters, West Demerara Mavericks, Everest Masters, Regal Masters, KV Construction Masters, RP Construction Legends, Sand Piper Masters, Bel-Air Rubis Ultra Tec, General Marine Masters, Jai Hind Masters, Sarjoo Tigers, and West Berbice Masters

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