Saint Lucia will host the 2014 Windward Islands Senior Men’s Cricket Tournament from the 29th of this month to the 5th of November, though of course the competition will not be used for selection purposes for the regional first class and 50-overs formats.
And that’s probably a good thing, because few if any of Saint Lucia’s batsmen could make it into the Windward Islands Volcanoes based on their performances in a recent series of trial matches. In three matches and seven days of cricket, there were just two half-centuries and a handful of scores of at least 40.
In the latest trial match, over the weekend at the Mindoo Phillip Park, Craig Emmanuel and Dalton Polius led the teams. Emmanuel’s XI was dismissed for 189 in 52 overs, Polius’ XI was dismissed for 116 in 41.3 overs. Jason Simon hit just the second half century of this series, top scoring for Emmanuel’s XI with 56. Emmanuel himself made 37 and Alex Antoine continued to contribute with the bat, adding 30.
Polius was again amongst the wickets, along with Loic Prospere and Marlon O’Brian, with figures of 4 for 43 from 12 overs, 2-20 from 14 and 2-69 from 16. Batting for Polius’ XI, Ked Cadasse top scored with 30, Tarryck Gabriel made 24 and Johnson Charles 22. For Emmanuel’s XI, Alex Antoine picked up 4 for 34 in 11.3 overs, Larry Edward took his wicket tally for the trial series to 11 with 3-24 in 8 overs and Michael Charlery 2-22 in 7 overs.
Following the weekend match the squad was cut to 18. Six players have been called up to the national team for the first time. Of batsmen Stephen Naitram and Awen Edward, the former made 33 and 43 in the first two trial matches. Left arm spinner O’Brian, aside from his two wickets in the last match, took three wickets in an innings in each of the previous matches.
He is joined by fellow left arm tweaker Edward, although strictly speaking, the 19-year-old is not new to the senior team, having received a call-up as a substitute when he was just 16 years old. Pacers Loic Prospere and Dillon John are in line for senior debuts, the latter not having been part of the original squad of 33, but joining the trials and getting stuck in. Wicketkeeper Sabinus Emmanuel is the sixth new player named Monday by the Saint Lucia National Cricket Association in its 18-man squad.
Darren Sammy headlines the senior players in the Saint Lucia team. The West Indies Twenty20 captain can choose to make himself available following the regional side’s limited-overs series against India, which ends a week before the Windwards tournament. Charles, a former West Indies opening batsman, has not had the most encouraging trial series, but he will hope to come good in the event.
A third player with West Indies experience, spinner Garey Mathurin, is in the 18. Craig Emmanuel and Volcanoes players Keddy Lesporis and Dalton Polius have all performed for the Windward Islands in recent years. A year removed from the West Indies Under-19 ranks, Tarryck Gabriel returns to the senior team. And Alex Antoine, one of the standout players in trials with 11 wickets and 90 runs, will surely be looking to impress in the Windwards competition.
Further information regarding venues and fixtures for the competition will be forthcoming in the next week or so as the national squad continues training. Saint Lucia finished fourth and last in the 2013 Windward Islands tournament.
The full squad reads (in alphabetical order):