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Good, but not good enough!


It was refreshing and a welcomed 30th Independence sporting gift for St. Vincent and the Grenadines when the national senior cricket team lifted the Windwards title in St. Lucia two weekends ago.{{more}}

The win ended a seven-year drought at that level.

Delight it was, as it also filled the cricket vacuum of a sub-regional title that seemed to have been lost in time and seemingly irretrievable.

We won, and that was good. However, it cannot be registered as a dominant performance.

Yes, St. Vincent and the Grenadines recorded two outright wins, and one on first innings. It is also true that this country was able to gain nine out 24 picks for the Windwards’ squad to the 2010 West Indies Cricket Board four-day competition.

But getting down to the real nitty gritty by way of statistics shows this country was not after all that outstanding, but appeared so, relative to the performance of the other three islands, Dominica, Grenada and St. Lucia.

The bowlers as they have done through the years, held their own with Kenroy Peters taking 15 wickets, the most in the tournament. Durable Deighton Butler took 11, and topped the Vincentian averages.

Salvan Browne topped the batting with 230 runs from six innings at an average of 46. His highest score was 87. Linden James from his three innings put together 122 runs with a highest score of 79, at an average of 40.66. Next was Alston Bobb in the averages. His three innings yielded 104 runs, with a highest score of 53, at an average of 34.66.

Donwell Hector batted six times, with a highest score of 59. His average was 31.50. Atticus Browne from four innings scored 59, Wayne Harper’s five innings brought him 68 runs in all, and Hyron Shallow’s six visits to the crease netted 58 runs.

Whilst it may be a team effort as no one was a standout, at least the likes of Hector must show at the Windwards level, he is head above shoulder among the others.

In short, our batsmen are not accustomed to batting long, yet are rewarded with national selection based on their relative mediocre performances.

In this year’s RBTT Premier Division competition, there were seven centuries scored. To show up our batsmen, the veteran Darnley Joseph scored two of those, so, too, did James. The others came from Donson Andrews, Harley Skerritt and Marvin Small.

Notably, five of the hundreds were score against three of the less accomplished teams in Victors Two, Saints and Packers.

Additionally, most were recorded at the smaller Arnos Vale Two Playing Field.

Except for James, none of the others featured in the two-day Windwards tournament. Significantly, none of specialist batsmen selected were among those scoring big totals regularly, in domestic play.

But they were good enough as a team to lift the title. Again, while this was good enough, it was really the best of the worst.

And it comes back to what goes on here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The RBTT Premier Division affords the top cricketers about 84 hours during its competition. Additionally, the best sets of players get another, at most 30 hours in the Neil Williams 20/20 competition.

Again, this is insufficient if one aspires to go further on the regional scene. Yet, St. Vincent and the Grenadines can boast of having the best competition structure among the four islands, but it can only take the players, thus far and no more.

How many of the local players are self driven to individually work on their game, outside the cricket season? How many of the teams/clubs are involved in pre-season training or train collectively during the local competitions?

That is the level of cricket in the four islands of the Windward grouping.

The fact that there can be outright wins in two days exposes the frailty of Cricket in the Windwards.

This softness is then open to all when the grouping ventures out to the wider Caribbean.

As I have stated in a previous exposition, the Windwards cricketers are rubber-stamping the decision of the Windwards Cricket Board of Control to continue with the two-day format.

If there is a winner in two days, then why not continue, as the duration is proving to be sufficient.

But again, do they have the ability to go play three-day cricket with any consistency?

There is consistency in calling for the removal of the “Mound” at the Sion Hill Playing Field.