Top Berbice club Albion snatched three of the top awards when the Guyana Cricket Board held its annual awards ceremony Thursday night at the Georgetown Cricket Club pavilion.
The top accolades in the male and female categories were won by Albion players Veerasammy Permaul and Treymayne Smartt for their outstanding performance during the 2014 cricket season while Albion prevailed over the Demerara Cricket Club (DCC) and the Police Cricket Club of Berbice to gain the club of the year award and make a clean sweep in the Premium Award category.
The awards ceremony was attended by several cricket dignitaries including the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) President, Wycliffe Dave Cameron, who watched as Permaul was named male Cricketer-of-the-Year while his Albion Sports Club counterpart claimed the female Cricketer-of-the-Year award.
Permaul, who captured 62 regional first-class wicket from nine matches, edged fellow Berbicians Narsingh Deonarine and the talented 17-year-old West Indies U-19 player Shemron Hetmyer while Smartt occupied the summit position ahead of June Ogle who recorded the highest individual score (164 not out) in local female cricket and the emerging teenager Phaffiana Millington.
Permaul also collected the senior Regional Cricketer-of-the-Year trophy while Deonarine, who will be joining the West Indies team in South Africa as a replacement for the injured Assad Fudadin, claimed the senior domestic Cricketer-of-the-Year accolade.
Two surprising omissions from the nominees of the two categories were Leon Johnson, who is currently on tour with the West Indies team and Shamane Campbelle, a regular player in the West Indies female set up.
Vishaul Singh, the Guyana Jaguars’ skipper walked away with the most improved player of the year award while his fellow GCC club mate Johnson was recognized with an award for his selection to the West Indies team.
Essequibo fast bowler Ronsford Beaton was rewarded for his achievements with the West Indies ‘A’ team.
At the junior level, Hetmyer, who continues to develop rapidly, was named junior cricketer of the year. The prolific left-handed West Indies senior team prospect also received prizes for scoring the most runs and the highest individual score during the WICB Regional U-19 limited overs tournament where he was the most valuable player in the said tournament.
Other recipients included West Indies U-19 opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul who copped an award for scoring the most runs in the Regional U-19 three-day competitions while spinners Steven Sankar and Sharaz Ramcharran were rewarded for taking the most wickets for Guyana in the said three-day and one day tournaments respectively.
Sherfane Rutherford and Joshua Persaud were crowned with the MVP honours for their performances during the U-17 and U-15 respectively. Rutherford (MVP Regional U-17), Keemo Paul (most wickets in Regional (U-17), Adrian Sukwah (most runs in Regional U-17). Persaud (MVP and most runs in Regional U-15), Kevin Sinclair (most wickets in Regional U-15), Phaffiana Millington (MVP and most wickets in female Regional U-19) and Latoya Smith (most runs in female Regional U-19).
The Guyana national U-15, 17 and 19 (male and female) and senior female team received prizes. Special Services Awards went to Zaheer Mohamed of Kaieteur News for outstanding services rendered as a cricket journalist, curator Wazim Habib, Jaipersaud Hardeo for his long and dedicated service as an umpire and Savitri Persaud for her services as a cricket administrator.
Corporate Awards were given to Sterling Products Ltd and Banks DIH Ltd.
President of the GCB, Dru Bahadur commended the achievement of the national teams and urged them to continue their successful output in 2015.
Cameron called on the stakeholders of Guyana’s cricket to unify so that Guyana can continue with its pivotal contribution to regional cricket. The president said it was no surprise to see the Jaguars atop the points standing at the end of the initial leg of the Professional Cricket League (PCL) because their administration was ahead the other franchises at pre-tournament meetings.
“It comes as no surprise that Guyana are leading the PCL after the first four rounds….at a significant meeting leading up to the tournament, Guyana was the only team with a franchise name and a financial statement to fund their franchise,” said Cameron.
He also advised the emerging and young talent to balance their academics with the sport because he is most worried about their life after cricket
In invitational speech former GCB vice president and President of the Guyana Olympic Association K.A Juman Yassin praised the members of the GCB for having the courage to survive all the court crisis as they rebounded to resounding success in 2014. However, he called on cricket stakeholders and the board to prioritize cricket, suggesting that if this was not done the players will be hurt most.
During his address Yassin opined that the WICB president should intervene to resolve issues surrounding Guyana’s cricket and if he is not successful then the International Cricket Council (ICC) should, if they fail at that. Then the board should avoid any funding.