By: Curtis Morton
Simultaneous opening ceremonies in Anguilla and St. Maarten officially signaled the start of the 2015 edition of the Leeward Islands Masters Cricket tournament.
St. Maarten is the host country for the tournament but due to the current logistics, some of the games will be played in Anguilla. Zone One in St. Maarten will feature defending champion Nevis, St.Kitts, St. Thomas and host island, St. Maarten; while Zone Two in Anguilla will feature Antigua, St. Croix and Anguilla.
The ceremony in St. Maarten was held at the Bute Hotel and was chaired by the energetic Keith Carty.
After an opening prayer and welcome remarks, a representative from each team was asked to address the sizeable gathering. Franklyn ‘Kut’ Daniel represented the champion team and was very outspoken in declaring that his team (Nevis) had only brought the trophy to St. Maarten for the other teams to have a look at but it was his intention, to take it back to the Nevis Sports Museum at the end of the tournament.
He even suggested to Leeward Islands Masters Cricket Association Chief, Alkins Rogers, that the trophy should be handed to Nevis fulltime after the expected three peat this year and a new trophy be put up for grabs.
Representatives from St. Thomas, St.Kitts, St. Maarten and the other islands all expressed their desire to hold on to the trophy this year.
President Rogers, in his remarks praised the hard working staff of the St. Maarten committee for their continued hard work.
He also indicated that it was the intention of his association to hand over the present trophy to a team but the team is yet to be decided as he indicated that Antigua could also lay claims to it as the team that has won the most tournaments.
A moment’s silence was also observed in honour of the late Alfred Hendrickson of the St.Kitts team. Fond memories was also made of the contributions of past stalwarts from the Nevis team in Egbert Halliday and Carlisle Hobson.
At the conclusion of the opening ceremony, the players from the various territories, mixed and mingled over finger foods and drinks, while being entertained by the sounds of ‘Wilful Skilful’ Sounds system, ably manned by Dango Farrell.
The first match is scheduled to start at the Caribe Lumbar Ball Park at 10:00 a.m. today Friday, May 22 when Nevis takes on arch rivals St.Kitts. Then at 2 pm at the same venue, St. Thomas will take on St. Maarten.
The action will commence at the same time in Anguilla, where Antigua will battle against St. Croix at 10 am. and then Anguilla will engage Antigua at 2:00 p.m.