Defending champion St. Mary defeated St Ann by eight wickets in the opening match of the 32nd Kingston Wharves U15 Cricket Competition which was launched at the Ultimate Cricket Oval in St. Ann on Tuesday.

Under the gaze of Jamaica Cricket Association President Billy Heaven, CEO Courtney Francis, Cricket Operations Manager O’Neil Cruickshank and Corporate Services and Client Experience Manager Simone Murdock, St. Mary won the toss and invited St. Ann to take first strike.

St. Ann started shakily, losing their first wicket for 11 runs. They continued losing wickets at regular intervals and were eventually all out for 77 runs in 39.2 overs.

Only four batsmen got into double figures - Jdain Bailey (18), Deshaun Gayle (14), Oneil Lampard (11) and Brandon Mowatt (10) - against the bowling of Shavaughn Boyd who bagged 6-18. Tedain Noyan backed him up with 2-26.

St. Mary achieved the 78 runs needed for victory for the loss of two wickets in just 13.3 overs as Davantae Miller top-scored with 38 and Tyreece Saunders 22. Jadeek Walker who took 1-10 was the lone wicket taker for St Ann.

Following the match, Cruickshank revealed that there are major changes to this year's competition.

"The most fundamental change that we have made is that we have moved from the limited overs version. We will be playing a one inning one day which means that the youngsters can bat as long as they can bat or as long as their teams wants them to bat or as long as the other team allows them to bat, so there no limit on the number of overs a particular team can face,” he explained.

“We have also allowed each team to use four players who are outside the age criteria. Additionally, we have allowed any female who has not yet reached the age of 19 at the start of the competition to participate."

Cruikshank said that at the conclusion of the tournament, the JCA select 28 youngsters who will begin preparation for the national team.

“It's the first time we will be doing it but we have looked at that cohort of youngsters and we believe that they are going need more time to be ready to compete in our regional tournament," he said.

The 2023 competition will feature 19 teams playing across four zones, with three zones having five teams and one, Zone 1, having four teams. This is so because St. Thomas will sit out this year due to a number of cricket-related challenges.

The Jamaica Scorpions had two of the top three leading run scorers in the 2022 CG Insurance Super50 competition that ended on Saturday night with the Jamaican franchise defeated the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force by three wickets in a tense encounter at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

Captain Rovman Powell ended the tournament with the highest aggregate of 346 runs, just four more than Red Force captain Nicholas Pooran (342) and nine more than his teammate Brandon King (337). But it was success of his bowlers that led the Scorpions to their first regional 50-over title since 2012 when Tamar Lambert led Jamaica to victory.

Four Jamaican Scorpion bowlers are among the top 10 wicket takers in the tournament – Odean Smith and Nicholson Gordon each took 15 wickets and shared the prize of leading wicket taker with Red Force and former West Indies paceman Shannon Gabriel. Not far behind were spinner Dennis Bulli with 14 wickets and Jeavor Royal with 12.

Asked about the impact of Smith and Gordon, Powell said the two pace bowlers were key to the team’s success this season.

 “They were very, very important in the sense that every time I gave them the ball they delivered right throughout the tournament,” he said.

“As a captain, it is very good when you find bowlers that give you wickets in crucial times of the game and both of them have been fantastic throughout the entire tournament. Not the most fast-bowling friendly wickets to be honest but they have been very good.”

Smith took his 15 wickets at an average of 19.26 and economy of 5.25 wicket while Gordon was slightly more expensive at 21.26 and economy of 5.94.

Bulli snared wickets at an average of 18.64 and economy of 4.75 while Royal took his 12 wickets at an average of 21.91 and economy of 3.92.

Meanwhile, the team has been praised by the Jamaica Cricket Association on its triumphant season.

The Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) congratulates our national senior men’s team “The Jamaica Scorpions” on winning the regional CG United Super 50 Championship. This achievement is the end product of teamwork, intense preparation and exemplary leadership,” said President Billy Heaven in a statement released on Sunday.

“Under the astute leadership of Captain Rovman Powell and guidance of Head Coach Andrew Richardson and Assistant Coach Nikita Miller, the world witnessed the Jamaica Scorpions win five games back to back. The collective performance of the entire team has made Jamaica proud.”

According to Heaven, strategic planning by the JCA that places emphasis on a player centric approach built an ‘exceptional team’ that claimed the trophy in a year when Jamaica celebrates its 60th year of independence.

“Cricket is known as the Gentleman’s Sport and on November 19, 2022, as the world celebrated International Men’s Day, Jamaica Scorpions provided the perfect celebration of the day winning the CG United Super 50 Championship in fine cricketing style,” Heaven said.

“This year Jamaica celebrates its 60th year of independence and cricket has always been a rich part of our history and legacy. The JCA is therefore extremely proud that our senior men’s team provided this gift to a proud nation on its diamond jubilee. Gentlemen we raise our bats to you.”



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