CHARLESTOWN, Nevis – THE year 1973 has been described as a pivotal one in the history of cricket on Nevis.
Minister of Works Hon. Carlisle Powell, who delivered the feature address at the opening ceremony of the Nevis Master’s Parish League on Saturday (Aug. 8), said 1973 saw the birth of what is now the new Nevis Cricket Association and a change in the way the game was run on the island.
According to the Minister, the history of that period is yet to be written and told but that was the year when Nevis fielded teams - one dubbed “the Over the Wall team” - and two cricket associations. He explained that previously there were players who did not participate in Cup matches and missed most of the trials but came from the Virgin Islands to represent Nevis. However, in 1973 a decision was taken to stop that trend and select only locally-based players. This resulted in the split which produced two associations.
Consequently, Nevis suffered its worst beating in Leeward Islands cricket, losing every game quite easily. Minister Powell however said that amidst the carnage, Livingstone Sergeant was able to record an unbeaten 214 against Antigua, a score that was three runs short of the Leeward Islands record. The Minister pointed out that 1973 was also the year Elquemedo Willett made his debut for the West Indies.
Powell said this proved that despite the gloom there was still some light.
He likened it to the 2009 situation, saying that once again Nevis cricket is at the crossroads after the team failed to make the Semi-finals of the Leewards tournament. This time the glimmer of light is the selection of Lornel Dore to the West Indies Under-15, Kejel Tyson and Nelson Boland to the West Indies Under-19 and Kieron Powell to the West Indies seniors.
Minister Powell also mentioned the fact that two of the island’s brighter young prospects, Saeed Williams and Ross Powell, added another century partnership in primary school cricket.
“So, in all of the darkness there is a tremendous amount of light,” he said.
Powell, who is a former President of the Leeward Islands Cricket Association (LICA), went on to say that young cricketers need to understand that there is a fortune to be made from cricket.
“There are some things we have to tell our young people who seem not to want to organise and play cricket properly. We have to tell them that, according to the records, the senior West Indies players don’t take home less than half a million US a year.”
The Minister said that players could earn at least US$5 000 for a Test match, US$2 000 for a One-Day International and US$1 500 for a 20/20. He pointed out that just for putting on the uniform with a sponsors’ logo, a player gets a share of the sponsors’ money which comes out to not less than about US$200 per day.
Minister Powell also said young players should seek to know more about cricket than just batting, bowling and fielding. He said they have to understand the dynamics of handling the sponsors, people, their own money and of negotiating contracts.
“And if they don’t understand contracts then they must spend money to get a manager or an agent who can take care of their affairs, or they could be in trouble.”
The Minister said the Masters tournament, which is sponsored by former West Indies batsman Stuart Williams, has been long in coming. He congratulated Williams on taking the initiative to get it started.
Also speaking at the ceremony was Minister of Sports Hon. Hensley Daniel and President of the NCA Ronald Powell. Minister Daniel said he sees the tournament as an avenue for building relations between youths and their elders. Powell urged the Masters to play in the best spirit of the game since they would be setting examples for the younger players.