Defending champion St. Mary won the first match of the 32nd Kingston Wharves U15 Cricket Competition when it was launched at the Ultimate Cricket Oval in St. Ann on July 25, and they have not looked back since. They defeated former national champion Manchester on their home soil at Manchester High School in the second match and did the same to St. Catherine Cricket Association at Boscobel in the third match. They continued the win streak on Tuesday at Boscobel Cricket Ground against Clarendon to win by 89 runs.
Clarendon turned up to the venue late and lost the toss. St. Mary took to the wicket and made 142 all out in 25.2 overs with three bastmen getting into double figures. Dijon Taylor top scored with 27 runs while Tyson Gordon made 14 and Akeem Palmer got 11. The main wicket taker was Perico Henry who bagged four for 35 with Talbert Wallace and Danjay Larmond getting two wickets each for 23 and 39 runs respectively.
Clarendon in reply made a paltry 53 all out in 20.3 overs. They lost their first wicket before scoring any run and the second wicket with just one on the board, and did not recover from the weak start as they continued to lose wickets regularly. The two players to get into double figures were Perico Henry 14 and Deshaun Smith 11. Shavaughn Boyd was the pick of the bowlers, getting 6 for 17 in 5.3 overs. He got support from Devantae Miller 2 for 8 and Tedian Noyan 2 for 10.
The other team in the competition with a one hundred percent win record is former national champion Westmoreland. They defeated St. Elizabeth, another former national champion, as well as Trelawny, Hanover and St. James.
There is just one more set of matches to be played in the preliminary round to finalize the teams for the quarter final.
There is a major change to the competition this year as explained by the Jamaica Cricket Association’s cricket operations manager, Oneil Cruickshank. “The most fundamental change that we have made is that we have moved from the limited overs version. We will be playing a one inning one day which means that the youngsters can bat as long as they can bat or as long as their teams wants them to bat or as long as the other team allows them to bat, so there’s no limit on the number of overs a particular team can face. We have also allowed each team to use four players who are outside the age criteria. Additionally we have allowed any female who have not yet reached the age of 19 at the start of the competition to participate.”
He also said “this year we are going to be announcing 28 youngsters at the end of the competition where those youngsters will begin preparation for the national team. It’s the first time we will be doing it but we have looked at that cohort of youngsters and we believe that they are gonna need more time to be ready to compete in our regional tournament.”
The competition features 19 teams in four zones, with three zones having five teams and one zone having four teams because St. Thomas will sit out this year due to a number of cricket related issues in the parish.