The eight annual Guyana Cricket Board (GCB)/Castrol-sponsored Under-15 Inter-county Cricket Tournament was launched at a simple ceremony held at the sponsor’s Regent and Wellington Streets outlet yesterday.
Prior to the handing over of the $1.6m cheque to president of the GCB Chetram Singh, Castrol Brand manager Leonard Khan stated that his company was pleased to be associated with the GCB for the past seven years, and will be looking forward to continuing in the future.
“I know that we would like to see these youngsters in the not too distant future representing Guyana and the West Indies, therefore I am proud to say that Guyoil and Castrol is certainly pleased to be sponsoring this tournament for the eighth year.
“The responsibility is now on a corporate business entity like us to create the opportunity to have these young players practicing in order for them to get better in the game. It is also important that we invest in these areas as this cricket environment teaches us not only how to play the game, but also helps in grooming these young minds in the right direction,” said Khan.
He also complimented the GCB for decentralizing the tournament this year where four matches will be played at the Anna Regina Community Centre ground, and he called it a good initiative.
In his remarks, Singh thanked the sponsors for their sterling contribution while stating that it is virtually impossible to run off any competition in any sporting discipline without sponsorship.
“I must say thanks to Castrol for their continued support and partnership with the GCB. As you are aware, without sponsorship it would be virtually impossible for any sporting organization to run off any competition and to be partnering with Castrol for the past seven years is a feat.”
“Guyoil has been with us for the past seven years and we are hoping that they will continue to be with us in the future as we seek to nurture the foundation of our cricket here in Guyana,” Singh added.
The longest serving West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) director also stated that the competition which is being used as a yardstick by the junior selection panel of the GCB to select the national team, is the youngest level of competition as far as the Regional body is concerned.
Meanwhile, president of the Essequibo Cricket Board (ECB) Asif Ahmad told Stabroek Sport that he was pleased with the facility, and all arrangements are in place and the hostel will be ready and fully equipped to host the teams.
“All the housing facilities are in place even as we speak. At the moment we are completing the plumbing and electrical fittings, with the Guyana Power and Light Company (GPL) installing power to the building by next Tuesday.”
He noted that he was pleased with the completion of the hostel and pointed to the opportunity of using it to house the under-15 team in preparation for the GCB/Inter-county tournament.
He said that it will be utilized further by that same team who will be encamped from today and will be involved in three practice matches before the final 15 are selected on Monday.
Ahmad, who defeated former president Alvin Johnson by a 14-2 margin to claim the presidency last month, stated that even though the practice pitches are not complete, they will be ready in time for the under-19.
“The inclement weather prevented the completion of the practice pitches but by the time the under-19 tournament comes around, they will be ready. We plan to make this the best hostel in the country,” said Ahmad.
The GCB/Castrol Inter-county tournament is scheduled to bowl off next Saturday with Essequibo hosting defending champions Demerara in two back-to-back limited overs matches at the Anna Regina community ground, followed by an Essequibo versus Berbice encounter on the 3rd and 4th March at the same venue.
Berbice and Demerara will then square off at the Guyana National Stadium on the 7th and 8th March respectively and all matches are 50 overs-a-side affairs.