GCB unveils third National Secondary School Cricket League

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By Avenash Ramzan

The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) on Tuesday unveiled the third annual National Secondary School Cricket League (NSSCL), geared at working as a feeder to the national system. Structured to touch all corners of Guyana, the competition has attracted over 150 schools, set to compete in a knockout format.

Apart from identifying a nationwide schools champion, it is also intended, more importantly, to unearth new talents that could potentially serve the national system.

Representatives of the GCB, the Ministry of Education, the National Sports Commission (NSC) , the Child Protection Agency and main sponsor Demerara Mutual Life Assurance were on hand at the launch at the GCB Boardroom at the board’s office on Regent Street, Bourda.

They were joined by dozens of young cricketers, including Sachin Singh, West Indies Under-15 captain to England recently and one of the top batsmen of the NSSCL.

In delivering a stirring address to the youngsters, NSC Administrator Gervy Harry called on his years of experience to urge the players to channel their energies in a positive manner. He encouraged the young cricketers to grasp whatever opportunities are provided to them as they seek to incorporate their academics with sporting prowess.

“I want to advice you to seriously balance your academics and your sports- that is very important or else you would not get very far in your sports. If you don’t have the balance you would not be successful, doesn’t matter how good a player you are, in whatever form of the game, if you can’t think and think properly you are going to lose because somebody in the game is going to out think you,” Harry remarked.

Players pay rapt attention to the presentations at the launch

Lorraine Barker-King of the Allied Arts Unit of the Ministry of Education spoke glowingly of the Ministry’s strong support for events of this nature, noting that the NSSCL form a critical part of the students’ school life and their academic pursuits.

“Cricket forms part of the CSEC and CAPE programmes. The Unit of Allied Arts supports heavily the CSEC and CAPE Physical Education Programmes in Secondary Schools. The majority of the 1,200-plus that wrote the CSEC examinations this year selected cricket as one of the three sporting disciplines required. This tournament gives these schools an opportunity to showcase the talents of these students and to provide a platform to evaluate their progress in preparation for this exam,” Barker-King highlighted.

The GCB is once again partnering with the Child Protection Agency, and according to Child Protection Officer Orette Francois, the body is keen on ensuring the safety of the participants of the tournament at all times.

“As such, the Child Protection Agency has been working with the Guyana Cricket Board to ensure that their coaching programme has an element of (dealing with) child abuse, as well as many others which place the safety of their charges above everything else, in order to get certified. Now each coach, once they want to get certified they have to do a Child Protection aspect,” Francois explained.

GCB Secretary Anand Sanasie added, “I’m going to refer to Francois and the Child Protection programme. Every one of our cricketers, in the Academy now and at the National level completed the programme. Once you’re going to interact with our kids you must complete the programme. Our coaches have to do a Child Protection programme and they have to do a First Aid programme and must all have Police clearance to deal with our kids. And we don’t compromise on that- you don’t get your certificate if you don’t do it, so a lot of those programmes have been going on.”

Executive Manager of Demerara Mutual Life Assurance, Clarence Percy, in expressing his company’s endorsement of the tournament related that sport is crucial to the development of a country and its youth population.

“It brings about a level of not only physical development, but also mental development as well, because if you’re not healthy in your physical body it will affect your mind as well. So it’s very important that young people get involved in sports. It helps you to develop social skills- how you interact with each other- it teaches you discipline and many time when you look at the social ills in society and you look at the areas where those prevail you will most like find there’s a lack of sports facilities and opportunities for young people to get engaged in sports or play sports. So sports has a very important role to play,” Percy stressed. 

Meanwhile, Sanasie pointed out that the GCB has seen gradual progress with the tournament and he envisages that trend to continue.

“I can tell that every year for the past three years this programme is progressively getting better. I’m glad that last year our sponsor Demerara Mutual Life Assurance Society came onboard and they’re coming a bit better this year, and I hope they can consider by next year as we go along, because once we can get up there with funding with the help we’re getting from the National Sports Commission it is going to get better because remember you’re talking about 150-155 schools,” Sanasie stated.

The boys from Lower Corentyne Secondary are the reigning champions.

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