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PRESS RELEASE – The Sandals Foundation 2016 Cricket Academy was dubbed an overwhelming success by the coaches and young players who participated in the eight-day camp which came to a close on Monday at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground.
The highlight of the closing ceremony saw former England Test player Roland Butcher addressing the young players, who he urged to follow their dreams. Mr. Butcher, who was born in Barbados, is now Head of Sports at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Cave Hill, Barbados and became the first black player to be selected on an England Test team. He encouraged the young men to make the best of the opportunities in sports that lay before them, adding that success is built on a foundation of discipline and hard work.
“Don’t be put off by persons who tell you that you can’t do something. If you have the belief in yourself, then you can achieve your goals,” Mr. Butcher charged.
He commended the Sandals Foundation for the 14-year long investment made in the development of grassroots cricket in St. Lucia. He pointed out that the role of caring corporate sponsors in nurturing young talent should not be underestimated.
Veteran sports commentator Joseph ‘Reds’ Pereira also lauded the initiative and urged the young men to make the best of what they have been exposed to over the course of the camp, which included not just on the field training, but also life lessons, including public speaking. Indeed one of the most important life lessons ‘Reds’ emphasized was honesty.
“If you go for a catch and you know you did not take the catch, then do the right thing and admit that you didn’t. Let that begin now, honesty and truthfulness are as important to your conduct as a cricketer as the technical skills you learn on the field.”
This year young Lee Solomon copped the Most Outstanding Player award. While other awardees included Gavin Serieux (Best Batsman), Tyran Theodore (Best Bowler), Zidane Arthur (Best Wicket Keeper), Dominic Auguste (Best Fieldsman), Julius Charles (Most Disciplined) and the Team Spirit Award went to Simeon Gerson and Ackeem Auguste.
Sandals Regency La Toc General Manager Michael James spoke of the importance of the choices people make in life, and congratulated both the young players and their parents for the choice they made to participate in the camp, and to walk on a positive path. This is the 14th year the Cricket Academy has been put on by the Sandals and the Sandals Foundation, in association with the Government of St. Lucia.
Speaking on behalf of the players, young Dominic Auguste thanked the Sandals Foundation as well as the Ministry of Sports for investing in them through this initiative, and assured that the 33 participants will seek to make the best of the opportunity even after the camp has concluded. Congratulations also went out to national and Leeward Islands coach Alton Crafton, who led the camp over the past eight days. Crafton has been instrumental to the execution of the annual camp for several years.
Several Managers from Sandals later donned their official outfits for cricket gear, as they closed off the Cricket Academy with a fun match at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground, playing alongside the 33 young men who participated in the camp.
The Sandals team was led by Halycon General Manager Chris Elliott, and included Regional PR Manager Sunil Ramdeen, Delton Ebbin, Wayne George, Maurice Lucien and Chester Dupres.