Scotiabank boosts Prep cricket with increased sponsorship
Scotiabank, who pride themselves as sponsors of the regional game, starting from the youth level, pumped a 25 per cent increase into this year's Scotiabank/Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) Prep Schools Cricket competition yesterday.
The increase will bring the sponsorship package to $5 million, along with MVP cash prizes of $50,000 for players in the counties of Cornwall, Middlesex and Surrey.
"This increase in sponsorship is a testimony to our continued belief in the importance of investing in youth through developmental sports," said Yanique Forbes-Patrick, vice-president, Scotiabank Marketing.
"Always play your best game. Strive to be the best on your team. Be champions in your own right and make a difference in everything you do," she implored the youngsters during yesterday's launch at Lucas Cricket Club, after which defending champions Quest Prep and Richmond Prep played the competition's opening game.
Courtney Francis, CEO, Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), lauded Scotiabank for ensuring that "cricket is part of the medium to make you all (players) better citizens, more responsible, understand and learn at this stage how to be part of a team and how to be able to contribute to society".
Quest were crowned national champions for the first time last year, after defeating Hydel Prep by 10 runs in the final at Lucas.
Hydel, the most successful school with two national titles (2012, 2013) and four in Surrey, followed by St Peter and Paul, Monymusk, Mona, Lannaman, Belair Prep and Quest one each.
In Cornwall, there are only two winners; Denis Tobin in 2005 and 2006, while St James have been unbeatable since 2007.
Quest's coach, Leonard Malcolm, told The Gleaner his team is missing about eight players from last year, "but we are a competitive school and we are going to compete to try and retain our crown".
The competition will run to June 12 and feature a total of 48 teams, with approximately 121 matches across three counties.
The competition began in 2003 and has grown from 24 schools to 48; 24 from Kingston and St Andrew and St Catherine, 12 from Middlesex and 12 from Cornwall.
Prep school standouts to come from the competition include Brandon King, who has represented Jamaica at all levels, Brad Barnes (2013), Raewin Senior (2014) and Kirk McKenzie last year.
West Indies' World T20 men and women's champions, Marlon Samuels and Stafanie Taylor, respectively, also participated and signed bats and balls for the youngsters.