A cricket year filled with disappointment
Jermaine Lannaman, Sunday Gleaner Writer
It's largely a year filled with disappointment for Jamaican cricket teams. After competing in six regional tournaments, only two emerged victorious in 2013. The successful teams were the national Under-19 and the national women's who both copped the coveted regional double.
As for the failures, the men's senior team topped that category after surrendering their Four-day and Super50 crowns.
It was a similar story for the national Under-17s who were dethroned by hosts Trinidad and Tobago. Jamaica hosted the tournament but the Under-15s also failed in their quest for a title.
In fact, had it not been for the success of the franchise team, Jamaica Tallawahs, who won the inaugural Caribbean Premier League T20, it could largely be a year best forgotten.
The national under-19s, coached by Robert Samuels, were led to victory in July by a team largely comprising of returning players.
These include West Indies Under-19 fast bowler Marquino Mindley, batsmen Brandon King and Tristan Coleman, and left-arm spinner Fabian Allen.
Off-spinning captain, and then 17-year-old Ramaal Lewis, led the team to the double in St Kitts in July and August.
The success of the team also resulted in six players being named to the West Indies Under-19 team, as well Samuels, who was appointed assistant coach.
Those selected were Lewis, who was also appointed captain, Mindley, King, Coleman, Allen and batsman, Leroy Lug.
Later, Samuels was also named interim coach at the West Indies Sagicor High Performance Centre.
As for the women, they were led to the women Super50 and Twenty20 double in Grenada by West Indies representatives, captain Stafanie Taylor, opener Natasha McLean, and all-rounder Shanel Daley.
The success of the team also resulted in young batter Chinelle Henry gaining her maiden call-up and eventual debut for West Indies women.
Taylor, in the meanwhile, after outstanding performances at the ICC Women's World Cup and other one-day series was nominated for the ICC Women's ODI and Twenty20 Cricketer of the Year.
Daley was also nominated for the Twenty20 Cricketer of the Year award.
The national men's team, seeking to extend their record five-year unbeaten run in Four-dayers, were stopped in their tracks by Barbados in April.
The team was primarily hindered by poor batting with experienced players such as captain Tamar Lambert, Xavier Marshall, Danza Hyatt, Simon Jackson, David Bernard Jr and Brenton Parchment failing to pull their weight.
Emerging batsmen Nkrumah Bonner, Andre McCarthy, Jermaine Blackwood and Yannick Elliott showed glimpses of potential, but lacked consistency. Elliott, it must be noted, suffered a mild heart attack towards the end of the season.
The dismal batting left the team's bowlers with the task of pulling the team out of trouble match after match. Their luck, however, ran out during the final round of matches.
Left-arm spinner Nikita Miller with 53 wickets was the only bright spark of the season, as his haul of wickets led to him sharing the top wicket-taker crown.
The Super50, which was played for the first time in years in tandem with the Four-dayers, also saw batting being the main achilles heel for Jamaica.
They made it to the semi-finals where they were beaten by the Windward Islands, who went on to claim to the title in May
The national Under-17s, who were looking to make it two from two in the two-year-old event, finished fifth of six teams.
According to coach Cleon Smith, the period of three to four weeks to prepare for the team was inadequate, as well as not having a single member of the previous team made things difficult.
Failed to apply themselves
The national Under-15s, in the meanwhile, despite playing in St Elizabeth, could not get it right under new coach Carl Brissett.
The team failed to apply themselves sufficiently and ended up fourth in the six-team tournament. Trinidad dethroned Barbados for the crown.
The Jamaica Tallawahs, captained by Chris Gayle and coached by Englishman Paul Nixon, defeated Guyana Amazon Warriors in the inaugural Caribbean Premier League T20 final in August.
Gayle, Hyatt, Miller, Andre Russell, Chadwick Walton and Bernard Jr led the way for the Tallawahs, along with overseas professionals Muttiah Muralitharan, Vernon Philander, and Kumar Sangakkara.
Left-arm seamer, Jamaican Krishmar Santokie, who was drafted by the Amazon Warriors, was named Player of the Tournament.
Locally, the two-day Senior Cup was not played for the first time in years with the Carlton Baugh-inspired Melbourne defeating first-time finalists Westmoreland for the one-day silverware.
The JAM T20 tournament was won by St Catherine, who on the back of a man-of the-tournament performance from Wayne Morgan defeated another first-time finalist University of Technology.
Montego Sixers, led by Blackwood, walked away with the second annual franchise-based Jamaica Premier League T20 title after turning back defending champions University Dynamites.
Off-the-field action centred around the Jamaica Cricket Association's annual general meeting and election of officers in November.
In the end, business executive Wilford 'Billy' Heaven was voted in as president by a landslide. He defeated former first vice-president Milton Henry 75-21.
He also saw all members of his six-member executive slate, as well as a 12-member board nominees gaining the nod of the electorate.
The new executive includes Dr Donovan Bennett (first vice-president), Courtney Walsh (second vice-president), Fritz Harris (secretary), Clinton Clarke (assistant secretary), Wayne Sutherland (treasurer), and Hopeton Morrison (assistant treasurer).
The year also started off with a change in administration regionally with Jamaican Whycliffe 'Dave' Cameron defeating incumbent Dr Julian Hunte for the post of president of the West Indies Cricket Board.
An interesting year with mixed results on and off the field, it is left to be seen where or who improvements will come from as new chapters are written in Jamaica's cricket history.
Elsewhere, the top school cricket prizes went to Manchester High and Wolmer's Boys'.
Manchester captured their first rural area ISSA/Grace Headley Cup league title after beating Vere Technical in the final, while Wolmer's won the urban area ISSA/Grace Shield league after beating Eltham High in the final.
Vere Technical did not go home empty-handed, however. They won the rural area one-day knockout tournament with Wolmer's claiming the urban area equivalent.