BCB starts planning for historic semi-professional tournament in 2021
The Berbice Cricket Board (BCB) earlier this year unveiled plans to host a historic semi-professional cricket tournament. Sadly, the BCB was forced to temporary shelve those plans due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The BCB 2020 cricket season was suspended in early March, and cricket in the county is likely to restart until the second quarter of 2021.
The vibrant board has used the last eight months to put into place several plans with the objective of hitting the ground running whenever the government gives the greenlight for sport activities to resume.
The BCB has been involved in a COVID-19 response effort, countywide coaching programme, securing sponsorship, assisting clubs and youth players with cricket gear and equipment, along with hosting several meetings with government officials.
BCB President Hilbert Foster is heading a special committee to make sure that the proposed semi-professional tournament is successful. The tournament for the first season would be played on a knockout basis with 12 teams.
The teams selected are Combined Upper Corentyne, Port Mourant, RHT Namilco Thunderbolt Flour, Albion, Rose Hall Canje, Young Warriors, Tucber Park, Police, Blairmont, West Berbice, East Bank Berbice and Berbice River.
It would be the first time that East Bank Berbice and Berbice River would be playing in a BCB First Division tournament.
Foster disclosed that each player and team official would receive a financial stipend per match with the amount rising for every match in the tournament. A combined prize package of G$1 million is been proposed with the winner taking home $500,000.
The grounds to be used are Albion, Number 69 Vikings, Rose Hall Canje and Port Mourant, while two matches would be played at one venue for a day.
The organisers are expected to cover the cost of cricket balls, transportation, meals, umpires and scorers, while the final is expected to be broadcast live via Facebook and radio. Foster disclosed that clubs if they so desire can have one guest player from outside the county.
One of the highlight of the tournament would be a Say No/Say Yes campaign by the 12 teams. The main objectives would be to get youths to Say No to Drugs and Yes to Education.
The BCB President expressed confidence that all of the plans would fall into place. Foster and his executives have already met with incoming Honorary Patron Vickram Bharrat, who committed himself to making the tournament a success.
Meetings with potential sponsors would start shortly and Foster disclosed that several major companies have already indicated great interest. Funds raised from the hosting of the tournament would be used to expand the county coaching programme, assist weaker First Division clubs, players and also to host the regular cricket tournaments at the junior, female and senior levels.