Disappointing turnout for shambolic Hurricane Relief T20
- Guyana Jaguars win by five wickets
By Avenash Ramzan
‘Maybe a more robust marketing strategy would have done the trick.’ That was the consensus of local journalists and many cricket aficionados on Sunday night after a disappointing turnout at the ‘Cricket Cares’ Hurricane Relief T20 match between Guyana All-Stars and Caribbean All-Stars.
Proceeds from the game are intended for those islands severely devastated by hurricanes recently, but it appeared the one week of promotion was not powerful enough to attract the masses.
It couldn’t be that the ticket prices were a deterrent- they were pitted at a measly $1,500 and $2,000. If that was the case then the guardians of the country’s economy should be worried.
It was by the far the smallest gathering of spectators to witness a T20 match of such calibre at Providence, featuring several players of repute, including Lendl Simmons, Andre Fletcher, Nicholas Pooran, Rayad Emrit, Fidel Edwards, Kesrick Williams, Leon Johnson, Veerasammy Permaul, Jonathon Foo, Christopher Barnwell and Gajanand Singh.
The no-show of Ronsford Beaton, Dwayne Smith, Kevon Cooper, Sulieman Benn and Lennox Cush, all of whom were advertised as part of the game, served as a further damper.
Though it provided local players Kellon Carmichael and Shemroy Barrington with a much-welcomed opportunity to play, the names of some of the absent players on the scoreboard throughout the match only served to provide an element of confusion for the approximately 1,000 spectators.
The crowd started to trickle in once the gates were opened at 16:00h, as the match was slated to commence an hour later. The first ball however, was never bowled until after 18:00h, moments after Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Director of Sport Christopher Jones met both teams.
At the half-time break, the Caribbean All-Stars had been sitting pretty on 174-5, but things didn’t sit well with those who came out hoping to hear local artistes Natural Black, Timeka Marshall and Jomo ‘Rubber Waist’ Primo perform live at the innings break.
Like the cheerleaders and CPL-like atmosphere, the half-time show was another of the unfulfilled promises of the night.
Thankfully, the crowd left with the comfort and satisfaction of a Guyana All-Stars victory, fast-tracked by a vintage Barnwell, who cracked 25 off 11 (3x4s, 1×6) as the home side completed the win by five wickets with seven balls to spare.
Gajanand Singh kept him company on 16 not out, but the thrust to the run-chase was budding talent Sherfane Rutherford, who cracked a stroke-filled 51 off 41 balls.
Eight sweetly-timed boundaries, executed with typical Caribbean flair by left-handed opener Rutherford, got the crowd going, before Jonathon Foo creamed 23 off 15 balls towards the back-end of the innings to swing the momentum in Guyana All-Stars’ favour and set the platform for Barnwell and Singh to complete the task.
Extras were a healthy 32, while Carmichael claimed 2-24 off three overs, the most successful Caribbean All-Stars bowler.
Andre Fletcher, bowled off a Keemo Paul free-hit when on 29, clobbered six sixes in 77 off 57 balls for the Caribbean All-Stars. Kjorn Ottley made 38 off 32 (4x4s, 2x6s) in an opening stand of 97 with Fletcher, and Nicholas Pooran hammered three sixes and two fours in 33 off 15.
Romario Shepherd, who dismissed Fletcher and Simmons for a first ball duck off consecutive deliveries, finished with 2-39. The game was organised by the Guyana Cricket Board in partnership with Ansa McAl’s Carib Beer and Keem’s Foundation, a charitable organisation.