Antigua wins sixth Nagico One Day Cricket title

CARIBE LUMBER BALLPARK—Antigua has cemented themselves as the kings of Leeward Islands Cricket by winning the 2009 Nagico One Day Cricket Tournament at the Caribe Lumber Ballpark yesterday.


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The six time champions defeated first time finalists St. Maarten by six wickets scoring 231 for four in 44.4 overs in reply to St. Maarten’s 227 for 8. Antigua’s Orlando Peters was the man of the match for the finals with 83 runs before he was bowled LBW by Romain Doodnauth. Peters shared a successful partnership with Gavin Williams who scored 67 runs before Colin Hamer took his wicket with the help of wicket keeper Royston Trocard who stumped his wicket. Mali Richards, the son of Antigua cricketing great Sir Viv Richards, scored 26 runs, Austin Richards Jr. 13 runs and Wilden Cornwall and Kerry Mentore scoring 8 and 4 not out respectively.

But it was not all bad for St. Maarten, as veteran batsman John Eugene was adjudicated Man of the Series, scoring a century, two half centuries and taking over 10 wickets. Asa Edwards, who did not pick up a wicket on Sunday, was judged Man of the Match for the first semi-finals played on Friday against St. Kitts. Kieron Powell of Nevis was Man of the Match for the Saturday match against Antigua where he scored 101 runs.


St. Maarten bowled and fielded poorly, which ultimately led to their defeat. Though the 26 extras bowled were significantly lower to the 54 bowled by Nevis the day before, Antigua was never under pressure and followed the advice of their coach not to lose early wickets. Antigua’s experienced and composed batsmen constantly scored singles and kept their run rate above the 4.8 required to win; with occasional boundary shots which occurred a little more often than St. Maarten needed. Besides the spinners not containing the batsmen, the fielders dropped several catches early on and misjudged shots that went racing to the boundary for fours. John Eugene took two wickets for 36 runs; Colin Hamer 1 for 39 and Romain Doodnauth 1 for 39.

St. Maarten won the toss and decided to bat. Sherwin Peters went out for 29 runs, bowled LBW by Justin Athanaze; Anil Persaud was caught and bowled by Anthony Martin, the stalwart John Eugene was caught by Gavin Williams from the bowling of Wilden Cornwall for 46, Romain Doodnauth scored 28 runs; the young batsman Moreland Le Blanc was down and out for one bowled and caught by Anthony Martin, Royston Trocard scored four runs, Joel Browne 11, Kenroy David 10 and Lionel Ritchie and Asa Edwards were not out on 17 and one respectively. Antigua’s wicket takers were Justine Athanaze 3 for 46 with one maiden over, Anthony Martin 2 for 38, Larry Joseph 1 for 34 and Wilden Cornwall 2 for 48. Gavin Tonge, even though he failed to take a wicket, scored a maiden over with just 26 runs scoring off him—a stark contrast to the three wickets he took the day before against Nevis.


At the closing and awards ceremony held on the field after the match, the speakers namely St. Maarten Sports Commissioner Frans Richardson, St. Maarten Cricket Association (SMCA) President, Michael Teixeira, Lt. Governor Franklyn Richards and Chairman of the SMCA, Imran McSood, rained praises on the St. Maarten team for earning their way to the finals for the first time, despite losing to the mighty Antiguans. Commissioner Frans Richardson praised the people of St. Maarten for coming out to support the team and promised that his government will build a cricket stadium on St. Maarten. Lt. Governor Franklyn Richards endorsed the announcement of the cricket stadium on St. Maarten, noting its importance in developing cricket on the island. "After six years you have managed to reach the finals in the seventh tournament. That in itself is a big achievement," Richards praised. He also praised McSood for dedicating his time in nurturing St. Maarten cricketers and helping them to be successful today.

St. Maarten captain Lionel Ritchie acknowledged that the bowling and fielding was not the best and that led to the team’s loss, though they batted well. He congratulated Antigua for winning the championship and said his team will go back to the drawing board for next year’s tournament. Wilden Cornwall; the captain of the Antigua team also had high praises for the St. Maarten team for improving over the years and finally earning their spot in the finals. He credited the young players in his team for playing "serious cricket" throughout the tournament. He commended McSood for helping to develop St. Maarten cricket and he enjoys playing here. McSood in praising the St. Maarten team said the team went beyond everybody’s expectations by going to the finals. He commended Coach Rishie Singh for doing a good job as well as Captain Lionel Ritchie, Asa Edwards, Colin Hamer and John Eugene. He asserted that with the support the tournament has enjoyed in St. Maarten, the sport is "alive and well." He commended all the teams that played in the tournament and hailed Antigua as the champions for playing well. McSood also thanked the additional sponsors that have been promoted on advertising sign boards around the cricket field and said they will be looking forward to their support in the future.


Antigua’s coach Leon Kumar Rodney believes Antigua, having dominated Leeward Islands cricket for so many years, needs now to challenge other dominant Caribbean teams such as Barbados and Guyana among others. "I hope that the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association sees that we need some better competition. And it doesn’t have to mean we play in a competition, but invite Barbados, Guyana etc., to play some competitive matches," Rodney said. He said he urged his players at the lunch interval not to lose early wickets but to stay focused and play well. He was not concerned about St. Maarten’s spin bowlers taking wickets. "If this batting team failed to beat 228, it would have been something wrong," Rodney assessed.