THE Windward Islands were crowned champions of the 2022 Cricket West Indies (CWI) Rising Stars Under-17 Championship on Wednesday.
After four rounds of matches, the Clyde Telesford-coached squad finished atop the six-team standings with 17.8 points.
Former champions Barbados (14.8pts) placed second and Jamaica (14.2pts) third, with hosts TT (12pts), Guyana (11.6pts) and Leeward Islands (8.8pts) rounding off the table.
Windward Islands copped the regional title after defeating TT by 28 runs at the National Cricket Centre, Couva on Wednesday. They were the only team to secure three wins from four matches.
Initially, the tournament was supposed to feature five 50-over matches contested via round-robin format.
However, persistent rainfall washed out the opening two rounds and the competition schedule was altered to facilitate three 50-over matches and two T20s.
The two sets of T20 matches were scheduled to bowl off on Wednesday but only the first round got underway. The second set of matches was abandoned because of wet outfields at NCC, Inshan Ali Park, Preysal and Gilbert Park, California.
At the award ceremony on Wednesday night, held at the Couva Chamber of Commerce, Windward Islands wicketkeeper Divonie Joseph was adjudged the tournament’s most valuable player.
He also shared the “most dismissals by a wicketkeeper” award with Jamaica’s Trevaun Williams. Both cricketers snapped up seven wickets each for their team. Joseph recorded five catches and two stumpings.
TT’s Orlando James won the “most catches” accolade for his five successful dismissals in the outfield. The Windwards’ Solomon Bascombe earned the most wickets with his haul of ten while Guyana’s Rampertab Ramnauth scored the most runs, 163, at this year’s competition.
On hand to witness the Windward Islands’ crowning were CWI vice president Dr Kishore Swallow, TT Cricket Board president and CWI member Azim Bassarath, WI selector Robert Haynes, CWI High Performance manager Graham West, member Arjoon Ramlal, umpire Peter Nero and SporTT’s Justin Latapy-George.
Windward Islands coach Telesford said he was happy to lift this year’s title.
“It was a great one. Whenever you beat teams like TT, in their home town, it’s a big feeling. We had our challenges as a team because you know we are not all from the same country. Coming together and having to get our preparations done was difficult for us.
“But to see how we came together here and performed well, we welcome the title. It’s always good to have a victory. It’s good to be the first post-pandemic champion.
“The weather was a challenge and the guys began to get discouraged. But as the weather subsided, the guys built back momentum,” Telesford said.
The feature address was given by Nutrien Global senior advisor, learning and development, Antonia Lucky, whose message to the youngsters was to pursue their dreams while maintaining their good character and integrity.
And despite the rains which threatened to ruin the tournament, the TT Cricket Board received warm praise for the level of organisation to pull off what was described as a very successful CWI Under-17 Rising Stars Tournament.
U17 Rising Stars MVPs
Round One – Divonie Joseph (Windwards); Rampertab Ramnauth (Guyana); Luke Ali (TT)
Round Two – Rampertab Ramnauth (Guyana); Nathan Sealy (Barbados); Brian Barnes (Jamaica)
Round Three – Divonie Joseph (Windwards); Jordan Johnson (Jamaica); Orlando James (TT)
Round Four – Stephan Pascal (Windwards); Jatario Prescod (Barbados); Michael Palmer (Leewards)