Jamaica aim for winning start
Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
Hosts Jamaica will today begin their quest to bury the ghost of the past two years, when they take on Barbados in the opening round of the West Indies Under-15 Championship at Up Park Camp.
The Jamaicans, after last winning the tournament in 2011, could only muster fifth-place finishes in 2012 and 2013, the latter of which was staged here.
However, with a new coach in Oral Simpson, it is hoped they will be able to put in a better performance.
The match, set for a 9:30 a.m. start, will also be one of three on the day.
Title-holders Trinidad and Tobago will face the Windward Islands at Kensington Park, while Guyana and the Leeward Islands will do battle at Melbourne Oval in the other matches.
"Things are looking good going into the match, and I am confident that we will do well this tournament," said Simpson, who led Eltham High to six urban area Grace Shield Under-19 titles in the past seven years.
"Our last training session, for example, was a vibrant one, as we staged a number of drills, and the players for the most part did well."
The Jamaicans, who will start the tournament as one of the favourites, have retained four players from last year's squad.
They are batsmen Dominik Samuels of Campion College, Raewin Senior of Excelsior High and Kirk McKenzie of St George's College, along with wicketkeeper Ricardo McIntosh of Clarendon College.
Andre McCarthy, a reserve batsman from last season, who did not play, also makes a return.
"Our senior players will have to take the lead and, hopefully, the others will follow," highlighted Simpson.
"Barbados is always tough opposition, with them winning the regional Under-17 tournament last week.
"We will, therefore, have to come out with our 'A' game from the start."
Barbados, in the meanwhile, will be hoping that their players will be fit and ready, having arrived in the country yesterday, along with Trinidad and Tobago.
The Windwards, Guyana and the Leewards had arrived over the weekend.