Inside the Banks First Division
with Elvis Howard
Date Published: 2008-04-27
Summary: Assessing the teams
Banks First Division
2008 Div.1 season previews – Banks, Barbados Youth, Empire, Carlton
The 2008 Barbados Cricket Association season starts Saturday, May 3.
As usual, the main focus will be on the Division 1 championship, which again features 16 teams for the third consecutive year.
Matches will revert to the very old format of three consecutive Saturdays to accommodate two one-day tournaments on Sundays - the long-standing Sagicor General Super Cup 50-over-a-side and the new Twenty20, also sponsored by Sagicor.
In this preview, the teams featured are champions Banks, Guardian General Barbados Youth, ICBL Empire and Carib Carlton.
CAMPBELL TAKES OVER CAPTAINCY FROM REID AT BANKS
Home ground: The Brewery.
2007 Position: Champions.
Position after preliminaries: 4th in Zone A - 64 points.
Highest Total: 302-4 declared v Carlton at Black Rock (1st Innings) Series 6.
Lowest Total: 92 all out v Police at The Brewery (1st Innings) Series 5.
Captain for 2008: Sherwin Campbell.
The best way to describe the defending champions is “Come-from-behind giants”. Banks won their third title in seven years with what every team needs - lady luck.
They were the last side to make it to the play-offs stage, edging out Barbados Youth by four points in Zone A. The rest is history.
On the strength of Winston Reid’s 81 wickets at 9.59 runs apiece, including ten five-wicket and five ten-wicket hauls, Banks chalked up three very important wins.
It was the umpteenth time Reid had taken the most wickets in a season.
All three wins came after losing first innings lead, starting against their rivals Caribbean Lumber YMPC in the quarter-finals, followed by ICBL Empire in the semi-finals and CGI Maple in the final.
The YMPC/Banks battle has become a grudge match over the past decade after Reid led an exodus of key players from Beckles Road to the Brewery in 1998 and Banks must have enjoyed that victory the most.
Former Barbados left-arm spinner Reid took 30 wickets in the last three matches to be the chief architect of their success.
Batsmen around the country must be breathing a sigh of relief now the evergreen performer has hung up his large boots. After more than two-and-a-half decades, he has retired with the enviable record of 1 540 Division 1 wickets.
Banks will have a hell of a time finding an adequate replacement for him.
Make no bones about it they will be hard press to defend their title.
Cousins Jonathan Carter and Carlos Brathwaite were among the top batsmen last season.
The talented Carter amassed 643 runs - the most overall - at an average of 35.02 including two centuries. He would later go on to make his first-class debut in the 2008 Carib Beer Series and also played with success in the Stanford Twenty20 championship.
Brathwaite, a tall, elegant player, made 550 runs at 32.35 and had some important knocks. If he can get near to that this season and pay more attention to his under-rated medium-pace bowling, he could be heading in the right direction.
Keegan Alleyne, who had a fruitful 2006 with over 500 runs and a place at senior trials for the first time, just managed 296 last season. In 2008, he will be vying to recapture his form.
These three, along with Kofie Hurdle (301 runs in 2007) will carry Banks’ batting.
Others who can be called upon are Michael Maynard, veteran Donovan Lovell and wicket-keeper/batsman Renaldo Holder.
Holder kept in all nine matches before the final and accounted for 17 dismissals but was inexplicably left out of the final.
Left-arm spinner Nicholas King claimed 26 wickets and made 186 runs and was easily the most improved player, not necessarily in production, but in what he offers for the future.
Now that Reid has vacated the scene, he will be called upon far more often. He should grab the chance with both hands and come to the limelight.
Banks would have been concerned with the form of the form of Anderson Sealy last season. The fellow left-arm spinner, who was earmarked to take over from Reid, was way out of depth with just 23 wickets.
Will there be a turnaround in his performance and attitude with the departure of his once mentor?
PROSPECTS FOR THE SEASON – Views of Sherwin Campbell (captain)
\"The system being used this season is the old, which I think is not too bad.
\"Obviously retaining a cup is always a challenge but with the talented players we have, we still have to play good cricket up to the end of the season. Who plays the better cricket will get to the final and the guys are up to it.
\"I don’t know if we have lost Winston Reid totally. The season has not started as yet and he has been around the club and I am hoping he can come in the nets and have a little bowl. I think he still loves the game and if the body still wants him to play, I think he may still be involved at some stage of the season.
\"The team has a little more experience from last season. It is still a young team and hopefully the guys shall learn from last season and be more consistent in the batting.
\"I am still a very competitive person and want to be involved in cricket not only in a coaching aspect but I think I can play and be an example for the younger players in the side and help in their development.
\"Both Jonathan Carter and Carlos Brathwaite were at trials for Barbados with Carter getting in the mix- up. Obviously I expect them to come to the fore again and score the majority of the runs.
\"Jonathan has a lot to prove because he has not cemented his place in the Barbados side as yet. I am hoping he can improve from last year’s performance, make a name for himself and be a permanent fixture in the Barbados side.
\"One area of concern is the fitness because we started preparation late and I don’t think we are up to scratch in terms of the overall fitness. This might affect the guys’ game in terms of batting for longer periods, or bowling long spells and in the afternoon session when the sun is hot and you are struggling in the field.
\"I think the have the skills to perform at this level. It is just a matter of applying our selves and trying to be consistent.
\"I don’t really like to make any predictions, I am just looking to do well and hope to be consistent and hopefully we shall do well.\"
PLAYERS USED IN 2007: 17.
LAST TITLE: 2007.
BARBADOS YOUTH LOSE MANY LEADING PLAYERS
Team: Guardian General Barbados Youth.
Home ground: Lester Vaughan (Cane Garden).
2007 Position: 14th.
Position after preliminaries: 5th in Zone A - 60 points.
Highest Total: 450 all out (1st Innings) v Carlton at Lester Vaughan, Cane Garden - Series 4.
Lowest Total: 109 all out (Ist Innings) v Banks at The Brewery - Series 7.
Captain for 2008: Adrian Caddle.
Like in previous years, Barbados Youth played their hearts out last year and were well on their way for a quarter-final berth but then the whole team had to go off the regional Under-19 tournament in the summer in St. Kitts.
It meant that the reserves were under pressure to match their replacements. This they failed to do despite narrowly missing the final eight by four points.
The team has been very consistent over the last couple of years and once the experiment of splitting them into two teams was disbanded, it meant that they had the making of a good enough side to challenge for the cup. Their final position of 14th doesn’t truly represent how well they played as a unit.
However, 2008 presents a huge challenge for the Dexter Toppin-coached side.
They have been struck by an expected mass exodus of players, who have given excellent service over the past three seasons and all now former national under-19 players: Shamarh Brooks, Shamar Cooke, Ashley Nurse, Kyle Hope, Renaldo Arthur, Steffan Gooding, Roger Williams, Amal Nurse and Dawayne Sealy.
It is an opportunity for those waiting in the wings to showcase their talent. Many of them have already had a taste of Division1 life.
The Youth team still has the likes of West Indies Under-19 batsman Kyle Corbin. There is also West Indies under-19 reserve Rashidi Boucher, who scored 459 at 45.90 last season.
Others expected to figure prominently this season are batsmen Kraigg Brathwaite, Jason Holder, Athelbert Brathwaite, Renaldo Brathwaite and wicket-keeper/batsman Kemal Smith.
The competition for fast bowling looks healthy with the likes of Diego Stuart, Trevor Ifill, Jared Bernadin, Jeremy Marshall, Rachid O’neal and Jade Padmore.
Shadd Simmons bowled well in his limited appearances and took 19 wickets with his leg-spin and will be eyeing a place on the national under-19 side after coming very close last year.
Left-arm spinner Dario Cummins settled right into his role and had a fine all-round season in five matches. Now a full season awaits him.
The wicket-keeping duties are expected to be shared by Alexandra’s Kemal Smith, who filled in admirably for Arthur and Akeem Crookendale of Princess Margaret.
PROSPECTS FOR THE SEASON: Views of Dexter Toppin (coach)
\"Judging from what happened in the Under-19 trials the team looks pretty good this season. There will be some youngsters who will be in this year and I hope they can do their bit and keep Guardian General Barbados Youth on the map in Division 1 cricket.
\"There is always a challenge having to replace so many players in the Youth team but it is the norm. I think this has been one of the beauties of this team that every year you have to bring in new players and they fit in very well. It will not be easy but at the end of the day they will get things done.
\"I think whoever is to pick, it will be a very competitive team. I would like to see the boys win the competition but you find it is always difficult because when the boys are doing well in the season, then you have to pick the Barbados under-19 side (for the West Indies Under-19 tournament) so the team breaks up.
\"It would be nice if the boys can win it.
\"We are looking to Rashidi Boucher and Kyle Corbin to lead the charge. Hopefully we can get Kraigg Brathwaite this year. He played one match for Wanderers last season but I hope this season he will play for the Guardian General Barbados Youth.
\"Others expected to feature are: Dario Cummins, Jason Holder and Peter Clarke.
\"I love to see the guys performing, guys getting good scores and going on to represent Barbados.
\"I would like to see four or five batsmen from this team go on to represent West Indies and that will be the icing on the cake.\"
PLAYERS USED IN 2007: 27.
Last Title: Nil.
A FEW KEY EMPIRE PLAYERS TO MISS EARLY SEASON
Team: ICBL Empire.
Home ground: Bank Hall.
Position 2007 Season: 3rd.
Position after the preliminaries: 3rd in Zone B - 74 points.
Highest Total: 366-6 declared (Ist Innings) v BDFSP at Bank Hall - Series 2.
Lowest Total: 114 all out (2nd Innings) v St. Catherine at Bayfield - Play-offs 3.
Captain for 2008: Jason Haynes.
Empire are easily the most dominant Division 1 team in the past two decades. In that period they have won the title seven times. Even when they have not won the “ Blues” have consistently placed within the top five.
Last season they were on course for a place in the final until they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against Banks in the semi-final. After they led on first innings, the batting crumbled to a ten-wicket haul from Winston Reid and they went under by 14 runs.
It was the second successive year Banks inflicted a come–from-behind win against Empire at the Brewery.
As has been the case for donkey years, Empire have one of the strongest batting line-ups in the island, if not the strongest.
Barbados batsman Kevin Stoute had his best season ever with 615 runs - the third-highest overall aggregate at an average of 38.44. The Barbados middle order batsmen will be one of Empire many players who will be away on contract for the major part of the season.
Other useful contributions in 2007 came from skipper Jason Haynes (441), Shawn Graham (374) Jason Hinds (364) and veteran Robin Parris (308).
Hinds, the younger brother of Barbados and West Indies player Ryan Hinds, had a fair season and if he plays the way he did in the Spartan Twenty/20 tournament, Empire’s batting will be even stronger.
Barbados middle-order batsman Alcindo Holder missed the entire Division 1 season last year due to a life threatening injury but made a comeback towards the end of the year in the Division 2 competition.
All-rounders Ryan Hinds and Ryan Nurse missed most of the season due to professional contracts in England but their absence hardly seemed to have affected the consistent Empire. They will be away again for this season.
Left-armer Ian Perryman with 42 wickets and Andre Evelyn, who took 31, led the pace attack with telling success.
Once Perryman stays fit he could come into the reckoning for a senior Barbados play. Evelyn, despite his slow-medium, can be more than a handful.
Barbados under-19 hopeful Antonio Greenidge of St. George Secondary, who has already represented Empire at the Intermediate level, should make the step up the ladder to Division 1.
Another quality player is fast bowling all-rounder Javon Searles-Scantlebury. He has been knocking at the door of the Barbados senior team for the past two seasons. However, again he will be missing for the majority of the season as he continues to broaden his development with another professional contract.
PROSPECTS FOR THE SEASON: Views of Jason Haynes (captain)
\"We are looking to improve on last year’s performance when we came third and go all the way to the top.
\"There are a lot of youngsters practising with us now but this depends whether or not their schools need them.
\"Every season we are always faced with the challenge of some players going on professional contracts in England but the guys always step up to the plate when it is necessary. Our batting line-up still remains very strong with the likes of myself, Jason Parris, Shawn Graham.
\"We also have Ian Perryman leading the bowling attack so I think we still offer a great chance.
\"We narrowly missed out to Banks in the semis last year. Hopefully this year the guys will be better prepared mentally and be more aware of the situation when it boils down to close games.
\"This year we have our work cut out for us but we are definitely looking forward to doing well.\"
PLAYERS USED IN 2007: 18.
LAST TITLE: 2004.
RICHARDS, CHARLES PART COMPANY WITH CARLTON
Team: Carib Carlton.
Home ground: Black Rock.
2007 Position: 13th.
Position after preliminaries: 6th in Zone A - 57 points.
Highest Total: 367-9 declared (Ist Innings) v Barbados Youth at Lester Vaughan – Play-offs, Series 3.
Lowest Total: 76 all out (2nd Innings) v Maple at Black Rock - Series 5.
Captain for 2008: To be named.
The biggest talk around the town and in the country is the exodus of Barbados batsman Dale Richards.
The elegant stroke player has parted ways with Carlton and will be heading for Queen’s Park to join forces with Super Centre Spartan.
He played only one Division 1 game in 2007 due to a professional contact in England.
Richards will be joined on the departure list by leg-spinner Nikolai Charles, who was with the club since the latter half of 2004 after he left Combined Schools. Cable & Wireless will be Charles’ new home.
Charles was the leading wicket-taker for Carlton last season with 27 wickets followed by left-arm spinner Dane Currency (26).
They have also been hit with the loss of coach Richard Straker, who has teamed up with Sagicor UWI.
The good news is that they still have four of the leading batsmen from 2007 in Carlo Morris (625), Kurt Wilkinson (585), Kirk Gibson (478) and Richard Greaves (462).
There is the likelihood that fast bowler Jamel Noel, who came over from St. Catherine last year, might move to UWI where he made his first-class debut in 2008 for Combined Campuses and Colleges in the Carib Beer Series.
The Black Rock club has acquired the services of Barbados under-19 all-rounder Amal Nurse. The right-handed batsman and clever medium-pacer is a welcome addition to the unit.
Now that his international playing days seem to have come to an end, Carlton could have the luxury of Barbados captain, fast bowler Corey Collymore. This would be more than welcomed as they have struggled in that department for a while.
Pace bowler Ryan Clarke picked up 24 wickets last season and is now considering himself an all-rounder after a maiden Division 1 hundred.
There is indeed cause for concern when a team that that were runners-up in 2006 could falter that badly to come close to the bottom of the standings the following year.
They have usually set the pace over the years but have been unable to hold out to the end of the season. It is indeed something that they are trying to solve.
PROSPECTS FOR THE SEASON: Views of Henderson Broomes (former Division 1 fast bowler and senior club member)
\"We have a couple of youngsters coming over - Raymond Kellman, Dario Vaughan and Amal Nurse, who played with us in the Spartan Twenty/20. He looks a very good prospect.
\"We will be hoping with the addition of the youngsters coming over that we will have some meaningful practice sessions and the club can be on its way for the 2008 season.
\"In Division1 cricket you could never tell the outcome but I think Carlton over the years have put together some pretty good sides and some pretty good individual players.
\"What we are hoping to do this year is get that individual talent combined as one and then go from there and hopefully we can produce a winning combination.
\"Over the years Carlton tend to be early front-runners, even when I was playing. We are always up there in the first couple of games but maintaining the strength and consistency to actually challenge for the cup coming on to the latter part of the season is our downfall. We will be trying to hold some very meaningful sessions so as to ensure for the length of the season we can be consistent.
\"We should be in the top two going into the end of the season.
\"On the new format of three consecutive Saturdays, the BCA over the last couple of seasons has been searching around looking for the right combination to get Division 1 cricket on track and to produce the once world-class players.
\"Once we used to produce such players but now we are struggling to even produce players to be consistent in Barbados team. Hopefully this year the combination can produce the type of cricket, which will see spectators out in numbers supporting the clubs and the young talent that is coming through.
\"The word is out there that Dale has gone to Spartan. From reports it looks as though he will be definitely turning out for Spartan but nothing concrete has been given to the club. The transfer letter is still there to be signed. The BCA has put things in place over the last couple of years to counter-attack players just leaving clubs.
\"For the loss of Dale Richards, Dale over the years has been a very successful performer. Any club losing Dale will be a big loss and if it is his wish to move on to whichever club it is, I personally would like to wish him all the best and I hope that whichever club he plays for it can benefit from the talents of Dale Richards and he will be able to pass on his years of experience.\"
PLAYERS USED IN 2007: 17.
LAST TITLE: 1981 - (Shared with St. Catherine).