CASTRIES: Cricket West Indies (CWI) and Republic Bank have launched another edition of the Republic Bank Five for Fun cricket development programme in St Lucia, in conjunction with the St Lucia government and the St Lucia National Cricket Association (SLNCA).
The launch, which took place on May 18 at the Republic Bank Limited Castries branch, opened the second season of the programme on the island, giving primary school-aged children access to this unique five-over, five-player all-inclusive format of the game.
St Lucia was successful in piloting the first edition of the programme designed to generate interest and participation in cricket, formed around the principles of fun, inclusion and equality. Both boys and girls will have the opportunity to play as equals in a fun and safe environment, having access to cricket equipment and learning the fundamentals of the sport from qualified age-group coaches.
Fidela Haynes, General Manager, Business and Retail Banking for Republic Bank (EC) Ltd, said: “I believe that Five for Fun offers a unique opportunity for the communities to come together and engage in a healthy and fun-filled activity. Cricket is a sport that holds much significance in the Caribbean culture – it represents a shared cultural heritage, and thus, serves as a significant source of national pride and identity for us.
"The bank recognises the value of the sport and is committed to supporting its development for future generations. Five for Fun cricket will be key in allowing our children the opportunity to build fundamental life skills, with the possibility of continuing their cricket craft as a career, which is something important and tangible.”
Donald Dave Albert, SLNCA 1st vice president, added: “The RBL Five for Fun programme is a key initiative in building a strong foundation at the base of our national and regional cricket development pathway. This initiative and collaboration between the government, cricket governing bodies, and our valued sponsor Republic Bank, is testament to stakeholders’ synergy and commitment in ensuring that grassroots cricket is clearly prioritised, and it aids the holistic development of children in St Lucia and all across our region.”
St Lucia Director of Sport Clivus Jules said: “The programme which included 19 schools in 2022 will comprise of 25 schools in 2023. Schools will participate in five zones across the island with zonal play-offs to determine the five schools who would advance to the Republic Bank Five for Fun Festival national finals.
"The Republic Bank Five for Fun Programme establishes the base of CWI’s cricket development pathway for players and forms an integral part in unearthing the future male and female stars of West Indian Cricket.”
The defending champions of the Republic Bank Five for Fun are River Doree Anglican Combined School. They will be back to defend their title.
Zonal preliminary matches are scheduled to be played from June 26 to July 7, with the zonal champions competing at the Republic Bank Five for Fun national finals on July 11.