WELL, after all is said and done, the end of the Caribbean League (CPL) 2019 has seen a remarkable comeback by the Barbados Tridents (BT), capably and incisively led by Jason Holder, to win the tournament.
In a fantastic performance of courage and daring, the Tridents left all the other teams in their wake, as they whipped the previous unconquerable Guyana Amazon Warriors (GAW) in the grand finale, at the Brian Lara Stadium, at Toruba in south Trinidad last Saturday.
At the close of the first round of competition, it would have taken a brave man or a fervent loyalist in his most optimistic mood, to place a bet on the men from Barbados. At that time, they were languishing somewhere near the bottom of the table having accumulated four points with just two wins out of five matches and the Warriors heading the table with ten points having won all their games.
It must have been a time of soul-searching for Holder and his coach Phil Simmons. They would have had the unenviable job of re-instituting confidence and mettle into their players, knowing at that time it would have been difficult for them to sight the winning pole.
Holder and his Trinidadian coach worked well together in the past when Simmons was in charge of the West Indies team. Their rapport had served them fine as the region’s team began faring better but was stopped in their tracks when the coach was dismissed from the position. However, Holder spoke in glowing terms of the bond that exists between them in his interview after the final.
Coach, captain and management team would really have to be all together on this one. The slightest hint of negativity could have brought the entire building blocks of faith and expectation tumbling down – that is the psychological aspect of cricket and sport in general that divides the winners from the wannabes. Motivation, self-belief, drive and enthusiasm are all inspiringly injected into the minds by the driving force of a strong management team led by a confident coach and an enthusiastic, self-believing skipper.
The stimulus provided drove BT to achieve another six points in the second round finishing their preliminary round on ten points. Two of these victories were against the TKR, which must have buoyed the hopes of the most pessimistic Bajan fan.
At the close of this round though, GAW had spaced out to 20 points, far out of the reach of anyone. Nonetheless, at that time, all the points the Warriors had gathered were to no avail and they would still be called upon to oppose the second team regardless of what they (the second team) might have accumulated.
The competition was now down to the wire. TKR had three opportunities to place second and relinquished all, two of those matches against the Tridents, one versus Guyana, and lost all. This significant state of affairs propelled BT into second place with just ten points, hence a play off for a place in the final with the Warriors.
TKR, now languishing in fourth place had an eliminator to suffer through with St Kitts and Nevis Patriots which had beaten them in the super over of the tied game. TKR hadn’t won a game since, having lost all of their second-round matches bar St. Lucia Zouks, which unfinished game had no result.
BT just kept growing and growing in stature. In the play-off for a place in the final the Amazon Warriors beat them by 30 runs rather convincingly. Then TKR humbled SKNP by 6 wickets. For yet another time, the arch-rivals of Trinidad and Barbados were to meet in a semi-final to decide which was worthy of playing Guyana in the final.
The thrust, driven by the momentum with the end of the rainbow in view, had the cricketers in the Tridents camp thirsting for more blood! They couldn’t have come all this way to collapse at the end of it all, they must have thought. The motivation was now like a fire burning in their breasts that could only be put out when they held that CPL trophy high. The coach and captain had mentally brought them to this position, their job now was to whet their players’ appetite by showing them the spoils of conquest.
The all-conquering Guyanese were brought to their knees and the triumph of mental strength got the better of a team spoiled by eleven consecutive wins.
An astonishing achievement! Congrats BT!