At a simple ceremony at the historic Enmore Community Centre Cricket Club (CCCC), a collaboration was formed to see the club, sponsored by beverage giants, Banks DIH Limited, under the flagship Banks Beer brand, host a 100-balls tournament with action beginning this weekend.
In front of over 24 teams that will be participating, the organisers explained that the tournament is a revolutionary one which is expected to be introduced in England in two years’ time.
Guyana has taken the step to bring it into existence much earlier with Berbice having their own and now East Coast.
The organisers explained that the tournament was expected to be played sooner but due to some hiccups they were unable to do so until now.
Executive of the Enmore CCCC, Bheemraj Ramkelawan, explained that the tournament will see only clubs from the East Coast participating.
Players taking part must live within the boundaries of Ogle and Mahaicony for at least three months in order to be eligible.
While this posed a few questions from the inquisitive crowd, the decision was finalised along with the use of the method of ‘bat your own ball’ since the organisers had requested the teams to provide their own balls that were grade ‘A’ or ‘B’ from the Guyana Cricket Board.
Varying from the structure will see the 100 balls being essentially 14 six-ball overs and the final two overs being eight deliveries which will see one bowler allowed a maximum of three overs and the rules governing the contest similar to the T20 format.
The matches will begin Saturday across four venues including Lusignan, Fairfield, Strathavon and Enmore.
It was related that the first stage of the tournament will be a round robin style with the top eight teams from the previous two competitions being placed into two groups of four each and the other teams going into a separate group in order to have an even level of competition before moving into the other stage.
Speaking on behalf of the sponsors, club member Shameer Shahib, said that cricket is very popular in the area but it has not been getting the push it needs during the dry season, hence the collaboration.
He explained that Banks were the sponsors of the Premium Beer T20 and now with the pioneering format, the aim is to have more cricket on the East Coast.
Because of the amount of legal battles facing cricket in Guyana, the tournament has received the green light from the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB). Shahib told the gathering that the permission from the GCB was in conjunction with the West Indies and ICC rules.
Ramkelawan reiterated that there will be no grace period when it comes to time, stating that the teams must be submitted 15 minutes before the start of the match in order to facilitate two games, one at 09.30hrs and the other at 13.30hrs. This is in keeping with the last quarter of the year that usually gets dark earlier and as such the organisers wanted to avoid any reduction in the contests.