FOR THE first time in living memory, Queen’s Park will be fielding two teams in the 2018 edition of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) National League Premiership I.
The Parkites I won the 2017 Premiership I competition while the Parkites II were victorious in the Premiership II contest last year.
The National League season will revert to a two-day structure this year, with matches on consecutive Saturdays and Sundays.
Today, Queen’s Park I will be visiting Central Sports at Invaders Ground in Felicity while Queen’s Park II will be hosting Victoria at the Queen’s Park Oval, St Clair.
Also on this weekend’s agenda will be a pair of matches in Penal – First Citizens Clarke Road against Alescon Comets at Wilson Road, and PowerGen versus Merry Boys at Syne Village.
Queen’s Park I coach David Furlonge, in a recent interview, noted that his team will start the season at full strength, as a number of players have rejoined the squad from duties with their various franchises, at the Regional Super50 tournament.
“This is the first time in eight years that we’ve had (most) of our regional players available,” Furlonge said.
Among the players expected to feature are Jeremy Solozano, Daron Cruickshank, Tion Webster, Yannic Cariah, Akeil Hosein, Khary Pierre, Terrence Hinds, Anthony Balgobin as well as new recruits Jon-Russ Jagessar and Anderson Phillip.
The Parkites II outfit, which will be coached by Charles Guillen and captained by Jonathan Augustus, will include West Indies Under-19 deputy skipper Kirstan Kallicharan, Marlon Barclay, Camilo Carimbocas, Joshua De Silva and Daron Deonarine.
“It’s a team full of youngsters that we’re keeping an eye on, to see how they develop,” said Furlonge. And Furlonge is hopeful that both Queen’s Park outfits will top the standings when the National League Premiership I season ends on April 15.
“We don’t play in any competition without looking to win,” said Furlonge. “If we finish one-two, that will be great. “Both teams are competitive, it will be a competitive season for both teams.”
The TTCB have scrapped the 50-over tournament this year due to lack of sponsorship and finances.
Queen’s Park I were the 2017 winners, but Furlonge will like to see his players get over that setback and put their focus towards the National League.
“We’ve won the 50-over for the last seven out of eight years,” said Furlonge. “They’re disappointed but some of the top players will have the opportunity to play in the 50-overs when the Board have their Inter Zone 50-over competition.”