Spanish-speak Caribbean nation Cuba joined Central Americans El Salvador and Guatemala on the verge of progression to the Concacaf Men's Championships following their latest victories in their respective qualifying campaigns on Thursday.

Group A

Cuba edged Belize 1-0 at the Estadio Nacional in Managua, courtesy of Aniel Casanova 12th-minute strike, to pull level with host nation Nicaragua on nine points at the top of the group.

The other contest on the day saw British Virgin Islands (BVI) register their second win in a 3-1 beating of Anguilla.

Azarni Callwood (18th, 23rd, 89th) scored all three goals for BVI, while Jared Smeins (28th), pulled one back for Anguilla.

Group B

Guyana registered their first victory of the campaign when they edged Turks and Caicos Islands 2-1, at the ABFA Technical Centre in Piggots, Antigua and Barbuda.

 Ezekial Rowland's brace (32nd, 55th) was enough to get the job done for the Golden Jaguars, while Emmanuel Martin (90th) got on the scoresheet for Turks and Caicos Islands. Both teams are out of contention where topping the group is concerned.

The feature contest of the day ended with a massive three points for El Salvador, who blanked Suriname, 3-0.

Christopher Argueta (17th), Nestor Delgado (24th) and Kiano Casamalhuapa (66th) did the damage for El Salvador, who now sit atop the group on seven points, one point ahead of Antigua and Barbuda and Suriname, on six points each.

This makes things interesting heading into Saturday's final round of games, as Antigua and Barbuda will lock horns with El Salvador in a top-of-the-table clash, while Suriname will have the easier task against Turks and Caicos Islands. 

Victory for Suriname could propel them to the top, but only if the Antigua and Barbuda clash with El Salvador, end in a stalemate. 

Group C

Host nation Guatemala assumed pole position in the group with nine points, after a 4-0 win over Aruba, at the Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores in Guatemala City.

Rudy Munoz (8th), Daniel Mendez (24th, 37th), Matthew Evans (45th) and Axel De La Cruz (85th) gave the home crowd much to cheer about.

Guatemala are now two points ahead of Curacao, with both set to meet in the decisive contest on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Barbados registered a morale-boosting 4-2 win over St Martin to take some positive from their failed campaign.

Barbados's goals came from Xavier Webster (1st), Ethan Taylor (77th) and Khalil Vanderpool Nurse (80th, 90+1), while Jaheem Joe (42nd) and a Warren Trotman own goal (72nd) got St Martin's goals.

The newest franchise in the Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League (CPL) has been launched. The Antigua & Barbuda Falcons were officially unveiled during a gala opening ceremony hosted by the franchise owners – WORLDWIDE Sports Management Group. Parimatch, the number one global gaming platform will proudly serve as the main sponsor of the team.

The event was held on Tuesday evening at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, which will be the home of Antigua & Barbuda Falcons when they compete in the 2024 edition of the Republic Bank CPL – the Biggest Party in Sport.

Krishna (Kris) Persaud, Founder and President of WORLDWIDE Sports Management Group was thrilled as he showcased the new team’s name and the colorful and dynamic logo for the first time to excited guests. Mr. Persaud also expressed delight in having the team officially on board for the regional event, which attracts sold-out audiences for matches.

“We are brand new; we are here, we are ready … let’s get ready to play! The Antigua & Barbuda Falcons will bring a unique energy and vitality to the Republic Bank CPL. We are ready to fly high and conquer what is before us. We want to establish a winner’s culture within the team and also a culture of winning and success off the field – among every individual associated with this franchise and the amazing fans we will have at our special home base at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in lovely Antigua," Persaud said.

“What you are witnessing today as we unveil the Antigua & Barbuda Falcons, is something truly special and I want to thank the Government of Antigua & Barbuda, who have worked closely with us to bring the Antigua & Barbuda Falcons to life. Antigua is our home … this country has a rich cricket history, and the Antigua & Barbuda Falcons will create more great history on these shores. It is now time for the Falcons to fly high," he added.

Details on the overall structure of the Antigua & Barbuda Falcons and the coaching and management staff for the team will be announced at a later date.

The 2024 Republic Bank CPL will take place from August 28 to October 6 with games taking place in Antigua for the first time in 10 years. The final will once again take place in Guyana at The National Stadium in Providence.  The tournament will also plans to have matches in Barbados, Guyana, St Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago. Once again, the window for the CPL will not clash with West Indies fixtures, so the best Caribbean talent will be on show at the Biggest Party in Sport.

Jeff Miller, CEO and General Manager of the Franchise was delighted at its return.

“Welcome back Antigua & Barbuda! This is where the ‘party’ in cricket started, and we are delighted to be back for this exciting event. We plan to have a full house for every match with our Antigua & Barbuda Falcons on show. This is what we have been waiting for. It will be amazing to see the Sir Vivian Richard Stadium packed and our lovely super fans enjoying the action and the atmosphere, as well as seeing great cricket on the field, the non-stop party in the stands and all the festivities that come with cricket in the West Indies," he said.

 
A new Caribbean Premier League (CPL) cricket franchise will be based in Antigua and Barbuda for the 2024 edition of the International T20 tournament scheduled to run from August 17 to September 25.
 
This was revealed by Minister of Sports, Daryll Matthew, who made the announcement during his presentation on the 2024 budget on Tuesday, stating that the yet-to-be-named franchise will replace the Antigua Hawksbills based here between 2013 to 2015.
 
“Over the last year we’ve been having discussions with the CPL and we are now at a stage where I can announce that come 2024, a CPL franchise will be based right here in Antigua and Barbuda once again. At the time, the debate was that it was costing too much money, and I think at the time they [government] were paying $250,000.00 per year, and they decided, they could not recognize that by having CPL which was, at the time, a new enterprise taking place in West Indies cricket. They could not see what it could have become and you fast forward a few year,s and CPL is now the biggest thing in regional cricket,” he said. 
 
The sports minister also revealed that based on a report he commissioned from the Ministry of Finance, the presence of a CPL franchise in Antigua and Barbuda could generate in excess of US$5.5 million in revenue on an annual basis.
 
“This data from St Kitts Nevis and St Lucia, we’re looking at 2015 data and so it’s likely to be higher now, but we can expect very easily and conservatively to generate approximately US$6M per year by simply having a CPL franchise based in Antigua and Barbuda. There will be a competition that is commissioned to name the team and to design a logo for the team, and that will be announced in the coming days,” Matthew said.
 
Matthew hinted that CPL matches will be hosted here in September next year.
 
The Hawksbills franchise was one of six teams that was established for the inaugural CPL season in 2013, and the only one located in the Leeward Islands. The Hawksbills placed fifth in 2013, and then last during the 2014 edition of the CPL, winning only three of out its sixteen games during that time.

A new-look England will be looking to draw a line under a miserable World Cup as they take on the West Indies in a three-match ODI series.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the topics up for debate ahead of the series opener in Antigua on Sunday.

Keep calm and carry on

No longer the standard-bearers in ODIs after their crown dramatically slipped in India, the talk from outside the England camp is of a reset. Those inside the dressing room, however, argue that one bad campaign should not be followed by radical transformation. It is sound logic given how successful the blueprint created by Eoin Morgan then taken on by Jos Buttler was, enabling England to become the first nation to hold both limited-overs World Cups simultaneously.

Out with the old, in with the new

So a change in approach seems unlikely but only half a dozen of the World Cup squad have travelled out to the Caribbean, which might have been the case regardless of how well they fared. Many of England’s established stars are the wrong side of 30 and unlikely to be involved in the 2027 World Cup – some such as Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes might not play another ODI. Will Jacks and Phil Salt are set to form an explosive opening combination while teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed and pacemen Gus Atkinson and the uncapped John Turner may be at the forefront of a new era.

Pressure on Buttler and Mott

As England’s World Cup title defence unravelled, scrutiny inevitably fell on the decision-making of captain Buttler and head coach Matthew Mott. They have been backed fully by director of men’s cricket Rob Key, who shouldered some of the blame for prioritising the Test team above all else. While Key expects the experience to strengthen Buttler-Mott as a partnership, he added the caveat: “If it isn’t, it isn’t and you move on.” Victory in this series and in the three T20s that follow – six months before returning here for the T20 World Cup – would go a long way to easing some concerns.

Cricket’s unrelenting schedule

Barely three weeks on from the final match of the World Cup, six travellers from a gruelling trip to India are in another continent preparing for a different series. Buttler, Atkinson, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone and Brydon Carse hardly had any time back in the UK before having to pack their suitcases again. A congested programme is frequently lamented and shows no sign of slowing down – although these are England’s last ODIs until September.

Rally round the West Indies

While England’s campaign in India went badly awry and they finished seventh out of 10 teams, the Windies were absent from the extravaganza, losing four of five matches and finishing below Scotland and Zimbabwe in the qualifiers. Shai Hope remains captain but the hosts will be without Jason Holder and Nicholas Pooran because of their involvement in the Abu Dhabi T10, a reminder of the Windies’ talent drain to franchise competitions. Shane Dowrich was then named in the squad before immediately retiring from international cricket this week. Little-known players such as Alick Athanaze, Yannic Cariah, Keacy Carty and Gudakesh Motie therefore get a chance to show what they can do as the Windies look to rebuild.

French Guiana and Guyana will contest League A in the next Concacaf Nations League edition, as both secured promotion at the end of League B action on Tuesday.

French Guiana vs. Bermuda

French Guiana defeated Bermuda 3-0, at the Pierre-Aliker Stadium in Fort-de-France, Martinique, to secure top spot in Group C.

Marvin Golitin, in goal for French Guiana, intercepted a free kick service in the 17th minute to deter any positive momentum from the visitors.

French Guiana’s Albert Ajaiso struck inside the box in the 29th on a second opportunity from a long-range hit by Zedan Charlec.

Arnold Abelinti had a hit from outside the box in 45+1 but was just wide of the mark.

Loic Baal added the second in the 49th, with a header at the right post. Abelinti was influential in keeping the play alive prior to the cross in from left field.

Joel Sarrucco added a third in the 90+4 after heading in a contested ball inside the box.

St Vincent and the Grenadines vs. Belize

St Vincent and the Grenadines were 3-0 winners over Belize at the Kirani James Athletics Stadium in St. George's, Grenada.

The win saw St Vincent and the Grenadines taking second spot on nine points, one behind French Guiana, while Belize, ended third on eight points.

Diel Spring opened the scoring in the third minute after connecting with a back pass from Oalex Anderson. 

NAnderson was denied by the left post in the 24th, as St Vincent and the Grenadines pushed for the second goal.

Cornelius Stewart was also denied by the woodwork on his free kick attempt which came off the crossbar, in the 61st minute.

Stewart was denied by the right post in the 70th and Deshawon Nembhard followed the play with a clearance to deny the ball crossing the line.

Kyle Edwards found the back of the net in the 84th, with a chipped ball from midfield to put Vincy Heat 2-0 up.

Oryan Velox sealed the result in the 85th with a hit inside the box, as the host moved out of the relegation spot and secured their stay in League B.

Guyana vs. Antigua and Barbuda

Guyana registered a fifth-consecutive win to confirm their spot as Group D winners when they defeated Antigua and Barbuda, 6-0, at the Felix Sanchez Olympic Stadium in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Kelsey Benjamin opened the scoring in the seventh minute by connecting with a pass across the box from Liam Gordon.

Benjamin went from goal scorer to provider in the 36th with a pass from right field to find an incoming Omari Glasgow inside the box.

Nathan Moriah-Welsh struck from behind the halfway line in the 45th, as Guyana took a commanding 3-0 lead at the break.

Osaze de Rosario added his name to the scoresheet in the 67th by cutting inside and striking a curling shot to the far-right corner of the net.

Leo Lovell added his own in the 90th, with a crossing ball from Gordon, who earned his second assist of the night.

Deon Moore capped off a buildup in the 90+3 to secure the largest margin of victory for Guyana in this campaign, as the Golden Jaguars secured their move to League A.

Puerto Rico vs. Bahamas

Puerto Rico took a 6-1 win over the Bahamas at the Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium in Bayamon.

The win pushed them to 12 points, as they finished second behind Guyana, with Antigua and Barbuda and Bahamas on four and one point respectively. 

Ricardo Rivera put the home side in the lead in the second minute after he finished from deep inside the box.

Rivera struck again from inside the box in the sixth on a second attempt after initially being denied by Charles Tillett.

And Rivera completed the hat-trick in the 19th, with a header in front of goal after he met a cross from Noeh Hernandez.

Darren Rios added a fourth in the 39th after winning an aerial ball and proceeding to beat the defenders.

Marcel Joseph cut the deficit to 4-1 in the 53rd, off a free kick opportunity that Joel Serrano was unable to keep out of his goal. 

Gerald Diaz struck from outside the box in the 74th, with a right-footed strike just at the edge of the penalty arc, before Wilfredo Rivera converted from the penalty spot in the 77th for Puerto Rico’s best margin of victory during the group stage.

Nicaragua vs. Dominican Republic

Nicaragua concluded its campaign with a scoreless draw against the Dominican Republic at the National Football Stadium in Managua.

They finished tops in Group B on 16 points, six points ahead of Dominican Republic.

Oscar Acevedo tested goalkeeper Miguel Lloyd in the very first minute with a strike from outside the box. 

Nicaragua’s Luis Coronel entered in the 31st due to an injury to Matias Moldskred. Coronel had a chance towards goal, but it was headed away by the defender Brian Lopez. 

Riki Alba had the best chance of the first half for the Dominican Republic in the 34th but was unable to get it on frame.

Juan Pineda nearly put the visitors in front in the 51st, but the sides remined deadlocked.

Acevedo had another good look on goal in the 74th, as Nicaragua continued its pursuit of a sixth straight victory.

Dorny Romero was denied the late heroics in the 90+7, as Miguel Rodriguez made the clutch block to maintain the clean sheet.

Trinidad and Tobago emerged the top English-speaking Caribbean nation at the 2023 Pan American Games that concluded in Santiago, Chile on Sunday. The twin-island republic won four medals at the games, securing a gold, one silver and two bronze medals to be tied in 19th position overall.

Guyana moved to the summit of Group A, while Martinique earned their first victory, as the Concacaf Women's Gold Cup qualifiers resumed with three League B encounters on Wednesday.

Dominica also earned their first point of the season with a draw against Antigua and Barbuda. Four goalkeepers came away with a clean sheet, as stout-heart defending was the order of the third matchday.

Dominica vs. Antigua and Barbuda

Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda played to a scoreless draw at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in Saint Lucia.

The visitors were nearly off to a dream start in the fifth as a cross into the box was on its way into goal from Kevoncia James, but Dominica goalkeeper Celia Gregoire grasped the ball to deny the opportunity.

James set up another dangerous opportunity in the 12th, but Donesha Samuel did not get her preferred hit on the ball to keep the scoreline level.

Antigua and Barbuda goalkeeper Anik Jarvis left her line well in the 27th to deny Le-Myah Forde in a one-on-one situation. A minute later, Jarvis delivered back-to-back saves as Dominica could taste the lead.

Ajahna Martin then tested Gregoire from a distance in the 54th but the goalkeepers continued to star into the second half.

Jarvis registered 10 saves and the clean sheet to help Dominica earn its first point of the tournament. Gregoire ended the day with six saves to help Antigua and Barbuda gain an away point and stay within striking distance of first place.

 

Suriname vs. Guyana

Guyana earned a 1-0 victory over Suriname to move to the top of Group A at the Dr. Ir. Franklin Essed Stadium in Paramaribo.

Both goalkeepers were asked to make timely saves early on. Suriname's Mayra Tjin A Koeng made one of her three critical saves in the 18th, as Stefanie Kouzas looked primed to score from a through ball. 

On the other end, Chante Sandiford got her hands to divert a dangerous attempt in the 29th, in what was one of her four saves on the night.

Shanice Alferd broke through for the only goal of the night in the 41st by connecting with a cross into the box from Jalade Trim.

Suriname’s attacking front tried desperately to get the elusive equaliser in the second half, as Andaya Lantveld had one of her team’s best opportunities in the 55th. But Sandiford provided little room to work with and the woodwork did the rest.

The encounter was decided by small margins as Guyana and Suriname have now switched places in the standing, separated by goal difference.

 

Martinique vs. Nicaragua

Martinique registered their first victory of the tournament with a 1-0 result over Nicaragua at the Pierre-Aliker Municipal Stadium in Fort-de-France.

Maeva Salomon struck from distance in the opening minute of play and forced Nicaragua's goalkeeper Angela Gutierrez to get a hand on the ball which bounced off the woodwork.

Mylaine Tarrieu continued the menacing start from Martinique with an attempt in the 11th that went just wide of the mark.

Nicaragua’s Nuria Marquez dribbled into the box in the 28th, but her final touch was deflected by the outstretched leg of Emmeline Mainguy.

Ludmila Gaydu pounced inside the box for the opening goal in the 43rd, taking advantage of Gutierrez diving to punch away another attempt a few seconds prior.

Salomon continued to threaten with attempts on goal and service to her teammates, with a 68th-minute attempt from distance that went just wide.

Nicaragua never gave up searching for the equaliser as Niurka Molina had opportunities on goal in the 87th and 90th, but Mainguy maintained the clean sheet.

Guyana defeated Puerto Rico to take a stronger hold of first place in Group D of League B as the 2023–24 Concacaf Nations League continued on Saturday.

Omari Glasgow obtained his fifth goal this season to become the sole leader atop the scoring chart in League B. Guyana’s victory gives it a three-point gap over second-place Puerto Rico with a repeat encounter coming on Tuesday.

Javorn Stevens earned a brace to give Antigua and Barbuda its first three points. The Bahamas continues searching for its first point as it moves down to last place in the group.

Guyana came back to win 3-1 against Puerto Rico at the SKNFA Training Centre in Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Both teams entered this match undefeated in the group and it was Puerto Rico who took the lead in the 11th minute on a goal from Leandro Antonetti. Darren Rios supplied the cross past the right post to find Antonetti for his first goal of the tournament.

Antonetti nearly extended the lead in the 47th but his attempt inside the box curled just past the top post.

Quillan Roberts came up with a big stop on Rios in the 56th to keep the score line within reach for Guyana. Glasgow tied the match in the 60th from the penalty spot after Kelsey Benjamin was brought down inside the box on the previous play.

Benjamin then gave Guyana the lead in the 63rd after capitalizing on a drive into the box by Liam Gordon.

Deon Moore put Guyana up by another in the 85th after stripping goalkeeper Joel Serrano and slotting home the goal that would secure the victory for the away side.

Bahamas vs. Antigua and Barbuda

Meanwhile, Antigua and Barbuda earned their first win of its campaign with a 4-1 result against the Bahamas at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas.

Javorn Stevens opened the scoring in the third minute with a header inside the box. Raheem Deterville was key in winning an aerial ball to set up the assist from Joshua Parker.

Stevens didn’t have to wait long to get his brace after striking again in the ninth on a counterattack. Dion Pereira intercepted the ball to set up Stevens on the breakaway.

Thomas James Bramble increased the lead in the 43rd after stripping a defender and proceeding to strike from inside the penalty arc.

A thrown-in provided the opportunity for the Bahamas to get on the board in the 62nd as Wood Julmis converted off the service inside the box.

Antigua and Barbuda kept pressing for another goal and earned a penalty past the midway point of the second half. Quinton Griffith converted from the spot in the 77’ to regain the three-goal lead.

 

Antigua and Barbuda Netball Association (ABNA) President Karen Joseph believes the home team is on the improve as they prepare to stage the ECCB Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) International Netball series this weekend.

Currently ranked at 33rd in the world, Antigua and Barbuda are rated below several of their rivals in the 10-team World Netball (WN) approved tournament, but Joseph anticipates a good showing from her squad.

“I was looking for specific aspects where the girls are concerned and I am now seeing it in terms of the commitment and the serious part of them, also, the fitness part of it,” said Joseph, who is also part of the Antigua and Barbuda coaching staff.

The tournament, featuring Barbados and Cayman Islands as guest teams, starts on Saturday at the YMCA Sports Complex. Antigua and Barbuda will tackle Dominica in their opening game.

“All the umpires are from the INF pool. Because it’s a rankings tournament you have umpires from England and all over. Also, Barbados is onboard and they have been onboard for the past two years in an effort to help out the OECS in terms of us advancing in the rankings. Cayman Islands is also on board, so when [we] play against those teams, even though they may win the game we still advance in our rankings because of their higher ranking in the world,” she said on the Good Morning Jojo sports show.

St Vincent and the Grenadines are defending champions.

 Eight-time Caribbean Cup champions Trinidad and Tobago have surged inside the top 100 on the FIFA World Rankings list for the first time in almost five years following recent wins over El Salvador and Curacao.

The Soca Warriors – in the latest list published Thursday – climbed four places up to 98th from 102, a spot they held in the last rankings in July. They were last inside the FIFA top 100 at 92nd in December 2018. Based on their world position, the twin island republic remains the fourth highest rated in Caribbean Football Union (CFU).

Meanwhile, Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz jumped two places up the FIFA list to 56th and remain number in CFU ahead of Haiti at 87th world ranked and Curacao (90th). Antigua and Barbuda complete the CFU’s top five at 137th.

In the only change to the CFU’s top 10, Guyana have climbed into 10th position with a three place move to 165th in the world, as Barbados – the result of Nations League losses to Montserrat and Nicaragua – slipped out of the top 10. The fell six places on the world list from 166th to 172nd.

World champions Argentina strengthened their grip at the summit of the world rankings. The Argentines, who dethroned Brazil at the top in April, defeated Ecuador and Bolivia in their 2026 World Cup qualifiers earlier this month to improve their status.

Despite losing to Germany in a friendly last week, France retained second place, followed by Brazil (third), England (fourth) and Belgium (fifth).

Former Antigua and Leeward Islands batsman Ralston Otto died on Friday at his home in Antigua after a decade-long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 65.

Otto played 48 first-class matches for the Leeward Islands between 1979 and 1990. During that period, he scored 2550 runs that included six centuries and 12 50s at an average of 34.00.

The right-handed batsman was the vice-captain of the West Indies ‘B’ that toured Zimbabwe in 1986. Former West Indies batsman Carlyle Best was the captain of that team that included Jimmy Adams and Carl Hooper who would both go on to become captains of the West Indies team, Phil Simmons, David Williams, Julian Charles, Javon Etienne and Vibert Greene among others.

 A cousin to West Indies fast-bowling great Sir Curtly Ambrose, Otto would go on to manage the Leeward Islands team. He also managed the Antigua and Barbuda team that participated in the Stanford 20/20 tournament in 2008.

St. Kitts & Nevis, Martinique and Guadeloupe all advanced as action got underway in Concacaf Gold Cup qualifying at the DRV PNK stadium in Fort Lauderdale on Friday.

In the first match of the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup Prelims, Guadeloupe defeated Antigua and Barbuda 5-0 to move within one game of reaching the Gold Cup group stage for the fifth time in their history. 

Joshua Parker had the first good chance of the game for Antigua and Barbuda in the 11th minute but was unable to keep his shot on target. After that, the first half was largely controlled by Guadeloupe. Thierry Ambrose had two thunderous shots, but both were parried away by Antigua GK Nicholas Townsend. 

The breakthrough came in the 28th minute when Steven Solvet directed a corner kick into the back of the net with a towering header. It was Les Gwada Boys’ first goal against Antigua and Barbuda since 2010, after being shut out twice during the recent Nations League B tournament.

Just seconds before halftime, Andreaw Gravillon curled a free kick around the Antigua and Barbuda wall and off the post. The ball fell right to Jordan Tell, who tapped in to double the lead to 2-0 heading into the break.

It was more of the same after halftime. Tell had another close-range effort in the 55th minute but this time Townsend made a fantastic save to keep the Benna Boys in the game. It must be said that Townsend was nothing short of exceptional this afternoon.

Mohammed Hakeem had a breakaway with a chance to pull one back for Antigua in the 63rd minute but placed his shot just a few feet wide of the near post. However, the game was put to bed soon after in the 66th minute when Steven Davidas’ nifty chip beat Townsend and made it 3-0.

Luther Archimede would add a fourth, his first international goal, in the 70th minute. Guadeloupe would see out the rest of the game for a clean sheet, and Matthias Phaeton blasted home the fifth and final goal in the 93rd minute.

Les Gwada Boys will face the winner of Guyana-Grenada on Tuesday in the second preliminary round.

The day’s second game saw Martinique move one step closer to returning to the Gold Cup group stage with a hard fought 3-1 victory over Saint Lucia.

Saint Lucia came out aggressively and threatened twice in the opening six minutes with two long balls. Andrus Remy was just barely offside on the first and Dominic Alfred-Poleon’s attempt was blocked moments after. The tone was immediately set: this would not be a League A team easily overpowering a League C one.

Martinique would draw first blood in the 18th minute. Karl Fabien received the ball just inside the penalty area and coolly finished past Saint Lucia GK Vino Barclett into the side netting by the far post.

Martinique’s Kevin Fortune had an excellent chance to make it 2-0 in the 25th minute after a lovely give-and-go with Anthony Brighton Labeau, but his first touch was just a hair too strong and he wound up putting the ball over the top of the net.

But Saint Lucia were not going to go away quietly. A looping corner kick saw the ball fall to Reeco Hackett-Fairchild, and he took his chance expertly. A blast passed out-of-position Martinique GK Yannis Clementia knotted the game all up at 1-1 in the 40th minute.

Martinique nearly re-took the lead in the 56th minute when Labeau poked a ball towards goal from close range, but Barclett made a sensational diving stop to keep things even. 

Labeau would get his goal though, on a flexible finish in the 74th minute. Enrick Reuperne’s cross was just slightly behind, but Labeau was able to stretch back and get solid contact on the ball to give Martinique a 2-1 lead.

Despite a spirited effort from Saint Lucia to equalize, Patrick Burner would seal the deal for Martinique on the other end with a third goal in the 85th minute. 

Martinique will play the winner of Puerto Rico and Suriname on Tuesday for a spot in Group C alongside Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Panama.

In the final match of the day in the 2023 Gold Cup Prelims, Saint Kitts and Nevis got two saves from GK Julani Archibald to eliminate Curacao 3-2 in a hectic penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw in regulation.

The Sugar Boyz found themselves with a very early breakaway, with Jacob Hazel getting the ball behind the defense in just the third minute of play, but Curacao’s Leandro Bacuna was able to track back and run him down before Hazel could fire off a shot.

But it was Curaçao who struck first. Jurgen Locadia let loose a low strike from the top of the penalty area in the 22nd minute that just barely made it past Archibald, brushing off his fingertips but not hard enough to change trajectory. It was Locadia’s first international goal and gave Curacao a 1-0 lead at halftime.

In the second half, the Sugar Boyz again came right out of the gates with a good chance. Omari Sterling-James had a very solid effort from long range in the 49th minute that Curacao GK Eloy Room was forced to parry away.

The game settled into a pattern reminiscent of the first half, with Curacao largely in control but unable to break through with any truly excellent chances. Archibald deserves plaudits for his safe hands; he caught several balls that would have been quite dangerous had he allowed a rebound.

The moment of the evening came in the 83rd minute. Tiquanny Williams cut the ball back towards the penalty spot and Tyquan Terrell rocketed it straight into the top corner of the net for a dramatic late equalizer.

At 1-1 after the 90 minutes were up, the game proceeded to a penalty shootout. Archibald saved the first kick, and Room responded with an even finer save. The two sides exchanged goals for several frames before Archibald produced another quality save in the fourth round. Terrell hit his penalty, and Leandro Bacuna put Curacao’s fifth over the bar, sending Saint Kitts and Nevis into hysteria.

Saint Kitts and Nevis will now get ready to face the winner of French Guiana and Sint Maarten for a place in the Gold Cup group stage.

 

Cricket West Indies (CWI) announced the appointments of Mr Hallam Nichols and Ms Gail Mathurin as new members of the CWI Board of Directors for a one-year period.

The new non-member (independent) directors were appointed following the Board of Directors meeting on Thursday, 11 May. Mr Nichols is an experienced and successful businessman based in Barbados. Ms Mathurin is a former Jamaica High Commissioner to London as well as Director-General of CARICOM’s Office of Trade Negotiations.

With Ms Mathurin being named as a Director it now means that CWI will for the first time in its history have two women on the Board of Directors. The other non-member directors are Mrs Debra Coryat-Patton, a Trinidadian attorney, and Mr Manniram Prashad, a past Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce for Guyana, who were both re-appointed for a one-year period.

“We are privileged to have these two esteemed professionals, Ms. Mathurin and Mr. Nichols, as new Directors of CWI. They bring a wealth of experience with a global perspective and are highly knowledgeable about the dynamics of commercial and trade in our region,” said CWI President Dr Kishore Shallow.

“Undoubtedly, the organization will benefit immensely from their involvement and the return of Directors Coryat-Patton and Mr Prashad.”

Dr Shallow added that adding a second woman to the board is in step with CWI’s aim to bring greater diversity to the administration of the sport in the region.

“Appointing two women out of the four positions for independent directors is consistent with the aim to bring more diversity to the boardroom of Cricket West Indies. Both Ms. Mathurin and Mrs. Coryat-Patton are first-rate experts in their respective fields, and with enthusiasm, I look forward to their meaningful contributions to the Board,” said Dr Shallow, who was elected president in March.

Meanwhile, Mr Nichols said he hopes to help CWI grow.

 “I am honored to have been afforded the opportunity by Dr. Kishore Shallow and Cricket West Indies to serve in this capacity and offer my years of experience in business to help advance the West Indies cricket's agenda,” he said.

‘I am particularly keen in helping to shape the business of sport, as cricket still has tremendous untapped potential for us here in the Caribbean. I look forward to contributing to put smiles back on the faces of our people.”

Ms Mathurin said she is looking forward to working closely with the CWI president in helping to achieve his goal of helping West Indies cricket overcome its ongoing challenges.

 “As a long time, passionate fan and supporter of West Indies cricket, I am very honoured to be appointed as an independent director to the Board of CWI. I am looking forward with great excitement to working with the President Dr. Kishore Shallow, other members of the Board and the Secretariat of CWI, in addressing the challenges facing our cricket at this time.”

 

 

Keemo Paul and Gudakesh Motie have been recalled to West Indies squad to contest the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe in June. Naturally, both players were also selected for the West Indies three ODI tour of United Arab Emirates earlier in the month.

Paul, an all-rounder and left-arm spinner Motie last played in ODIs last July against India in Trinidad. Meanwhile, four uncapped players – left-handed batter Alick Athanaze, as well as allrounders Kavem Hodge, Dominic Drakes, and Akeem Jordan – have been selected for the series in the UAE.

The West Indies will play that One Day International (ODI) Series against UAE in Sharjah on June 5, 7 and 9 and form part of the preparations for the qualifiers.

CWI has given permission to players participating in the Indian Premier League (IPL) to return to the Caribbean for a short break before arriving in Zimbabwe for the qualification tournament.

 “Paul is a three-dimensional player, who can bowl the new ball effectively, he’s dynamic in the outfield and he can also make vital runs. He is now fully recovered from injury and with his skill-set we see him as a potential match-winner for us,” said Lead Selector Dr Desmond Haynes.

“Motie was excellent in the Test matches in the Zimbabwe earlier this year, where he took 19 wickets, and we anticipate similar conditions for the qualifiers. We believe he will again relish the chance to bowl in those conditions. He is also a capable batsman and good in the outfield. The team played well in South Africa earlier this year, when we drew the ODI Series 1-1 under the new captain. We were encouraged by that display and we expect them to continue to grow and create that synergy.”

Haynes reiterated that the qualifiers in Zimbabwe are crucial to the West Indies, who once again, did not get an automatic berth into the ICC World Cup in India.

“We see this as a crucial tournament as we look to secure one of the two places left in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 in India. Therefore, we have selected a balanced team which we believe is well equipped to get the job done in the conditions we anticipate in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“It will be a challenging tournament, it will be intense and competitive, there is no doubt about that. In speaking to the players, they are fully aware of the job at hand. We are happy with the preparations and the mindset of the players, and everyone is clear about their roles in the squad.

“For the matches against the UAE in Sharjah, this presents a chance for some other players who are not in the squad for the qualifiers, to get an opportunity at the international level as we look to expose more players.”

FULL SQUADS

West Indies Squad v United Arab Emirates: Shai Hope (captain), Brandon King (vice-captain), Alick Athanaze, Shamarh Brooks, Yannic Cariah, Keacy Carty, Roston Chase, Dominic Drakes, Kavem Hodge, Akeem Jordan, Gudakesh Motie, Keemo Paul, Raymon Reifer, Odean Smith and Devon Thomas.

Squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers: Shai Hope (captain), Rovman Powell (vice-captain), Shamarh Brooks, Yannic Cariah, Keacy Carty, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran and Romario Shepherd.

Team Jamaica will leave the island on Sunday (May 7) to defend their West Indies Full Bore Shooting Championship in Antigua & Barbuda between May 8-14 at the Crabb's Range.

The team to be led by Captain Phillip Scott will include the current national Full-Bore champion Nicola Guy, Jamaica’s first female national champion. Also on the team is two-time Amazon trophy winner and O Class champion Karen Anderson.

 Major John Nelson, the president of the West Indies Full Bore Shooting Council and five-time Wogarth Cup winner, reigning Wogarth Cup winner, Captain Dwayne Ford, Canute CC Coley, Dennis Lee and Dr. Derek Mitchell complete the line-up.

George Hutton will serve as team manager.

Full Bore competition features competitors shooting from a prone position from distances of 300, 500,  600, 900 and 1,000 yards. Notably only Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica have 900-yard and 1,000-yard courses.

Shooters compete in three possible classes. X Class comprise the top 15-20 shooters in the Caribbean. T Class is any shooter participating in a regional shoot for the first time. Everyone else is in O Class.

Jamaica is considered to be a power house in Full Bore Shooting having won several championships and is always on the podium.

The Amazon trophy is awarded to the highest-scoring female while Wogarth Cup is awarded to the shooter who has the highest score in the team match.

 

 

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