– Final to be played under floodlights at Providence Stadium
The highly-anticipated El Dorado limited-overs Inter-County round-robin competition got off the ground yesterday at a launch held in the boardroom of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB), Regent Street.
Speaking to the media at the launching, GCB vice-president Alvin Johnson said he was happy with the commitment of Demerara Distilleries Limited (DDL) to continue sponsorship of the tournament.
According to Johnson the importance of this competition to the development of cricket in Guyana was rooted in the long and continuous relationship with the sponsors DDL.
“This 50-over competition is very important to us especially at this time when 20/20 seems to be saturating the cricket calendar,” Johnson said.
“While some are of the view that 20/20 is here to phase out the other forms of the game this is not so, as the 40-overs, 50-overs, three and four-day matches and test matches are here to stay,” Johnson added.
Johnson said that the GCB was happy to have DDL on board and they can surely say that bigger and better competitions can be expected in the years to come.
This competition, Johnson said, has been used as a benchmark to select the local squad to participate in the regional limited-overs competition over the years.
And, DDL marketing assistant, Alana Johnson, who, along with El Dorado brand manager, Maria Munroe, presented the $2M cheque to GCB said that the company was glad to be associated with the GCB, sports and its development on the whole.
“This competition continues to be run at a high standard,” Alana Johnson said adding that DDL hoped to see continued exceptional cricket from the three counties – Berbice, Demerara and Essequibo, along with the emergence of new stars in both the batting and bowling departments.
Alana Johnson added that she hoped to see a squad coming out of this competition that would return the regional one-day trophy to Guyana which has been missing since the 2005-6 reign.
The final will be contested under floodlights at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence on October 3, and, according to GCB, marketing manager, Ramsey Ali, is expected to attract some 5,000 patrons who will be asked to pay a small sum of $500 to enter.
Most of the money will go towards paying for lights, groundsmen, scorers and other staff attached to the stadium.
Ali highlighted the cost of the lights which he said was $50,000 per hour.
Meanwhile, the five-day break between the last preliminary match and the final would be used to better market the competition to have the best turn out possible, Ali said.
The competition is expected to cost in excess of $250,000 and though the ground can hold in excess of 15,000 patrons, Ali said the GCB did not want to hang its hat too high in case they did not get full attendance.
Speaking about the prize money, DDL’s Johnson said that her company has plugged an additional $500,000 into the competition this year.
Ali said the total cost to run such a competition was in excess of $3.5m.
The teams also will be decked out in their county colors with Essequibo in yellow, Demerara (blue) and Berbice (red) and all of the uniforms will feature the logo of the sponsors, El Dorado.
GCB’s Johnson responding to questions as to why no matches were being played in Essequibo, informed those gathered that for logistical and financial reasons this was not possible.
“The neglecting of Essequibo was not willfully done by the GCB, as the roster had to be worked out as to where to play the three matches and the one they came up with was the most suitable,” Johnson stated.
Entrance fees to the ground will only be applicable to the final although the Blairmont game will have a cover charge of about $300.
GCB’s Johnson, when questioned about the possibility of rain on the day/night of the final said that while no preparation has been made for such an event the match will have to delayed for some time as the Providence Stadium is packed with activities that will take as much as two weeks to complete.
The competition will be played on a round robin system with the first game taking place between Demerara and Essequibo on Friday at the Everest Cricket Club ground.
The match will feature such players as Demerara captain and new West Indies one-day player Leon Johnson, former West Indies Under-19 vice captain Steven Jacobs, 20/20 all rounder Chris Barnwell and Dion Ferrier, along with former national under-19 openers Rajendra Chandrika and Shemroy Barrington.
Essequibo will be led by national fast bowler Trevon Garraway who will have at his disposal, the likes of Wayne Osborne, Yogeshwar Lall, Rakesh Goberdhan and former national under-19 fats bowler Ryan Hercules.
Berbice will go into action the following day, when they oppose Essequibo at Blairmont with the final preliminary round match featuring Berbice and Demerara taking place at the Wales Community Centre ground on Sunday.