Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica and title-holders Barbados will meet in the feature game of the opening round of the 18th West Indies Cricket Board Under-15 Tournament at St Elizabeth Technical High School in St Elizabeth when the competition bowls off today.
Two other matches will be played today - Trinidad and Tobago will oppose the Windward Islands at Treasure Beach Sports Complex while Guyana and the Leeward Islands square off at Alpart Sports Club.
The tournament will be played using a round-robin format with the top team at the end being crowned champions.
Jamaica's coach Carl Brissett wants a winning start to set the tone for the rest of the tournament.
"The first game is always the most crucial one. If you win your opening game, it puts pressure on the teams to try and catch up with you, and that is the position we would like to find ourselves in come tomorrow," Brissett said.
Jamaica, who finished a disappointing fifth in St Kitts and Nevis last year, will pin their hopes on a number of players who were standouts during the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association Under-19 competition this season.
These include captain and batsman Barry Barnes Jr, and medium pace all-rounder Michael Harriott of rural area Headley Cup champions Manchester High, batsman Jeavor Royal of urban area Grace Shield semi-finalists Innswood, and batsman Raywin Senior of Excelsior High.
Rely on experience
Also expected to feature prominently are batsman Dominic Samuels of Campion High, left-arm pacer Shalome Parnell of Garvey Maceo, and BB Coke wicketkeeper-batsman, Rashjni Roye.
"We have a nice blend of batsmen, fast and spin bowlers, and with this, I expect us to not only do well in the opening match, but also seriously challenge for the title," said Brissett.
Barbados are set to rely heavily on the experience of returning batsmen Limar Pierce and Daniel Chesham, as well as captain and fellow batsman, Najee Holder.
"We expect a tough match against Jamaica, however, my players are prepared and plan to give their all," said Barbados coach, Emmerson Trotman.
Jamaica squad: Barry Barnes (capt), Dominic Samuels (vice-capt), Raywin Senior, Michael Harriott, Jeavor Royal, Joshe-Anthony Grey, Kirk McKenzie, Ian Spence, Aaron Burrell, Shalome Parnell, Kashawn Beale, Rashjni Roye (wkt), Ricardo McIntosh, and Nkala Tracey. Coach: Carl Brissett. Manager: Richard Walters.
Barbados squad: Najee Holder (capt), Joshua Bishop, Keemar Burrowes, Shian Brathwaite, Shaquane Cave, Thaddaeus Chase, Daniel Chesham, Jamon Cole, Joshua Corbin, Jarion Hoyte, Jadon Jones, Limar Pierce, Reneil Smith, Mical Stuart (wkt). Coach: Emmerson Trotman. Manager: Livingstone Puckering.