GCB Over-40 tournament a litmus test amidst the pandemic

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The Guyana Cricket Board’s Over-40 tournament will commence Saturday with four matches across two venues. At the launch on Friday, officials said the aim is to test the country’s readiness to host cricket tournaments amidst the pandemic.

As of November 1, sport activities were allowed to resume, pending approval of the Minister of Health.

Apart from gauging the current skill level of former players, Territorial Development Officer, Colin Stuart, said this tournament will be used to test the Board’s readiness to host tournaments during the pandemic.

A successful tournament would mean key groups such as the Under-19s and the Guyana Jaguars can have their preparatory matches ahead of a tentative restart to regional cricket next year.

“It will be good to see how good the guys are today. Apart from that too, our franchise guys have been working on Zoom and are eager to get out in the middle,” Stuart said on Friday.

“Those players, as well the Under-19 players who did not get to play, are hoping for a successful tournament so that they can actually take to the field. If we are unable to do that then puts a damper on the other activities planned, but we are confident the competition will run smoothly.”

Secretary of the GCB, Anand Sanasie, echoed similar sentiments, noting the importance of players following the guidelines.

“I ask that you [players] take care more of yourself and teammates more than ever because we are basically on a test. If we have any issue breaking the COVID regulations or God forbid any outbreak, we will have to cancel everything going forward. All the territories that have not been able to restart their cricket are looking at what we are doing.”

Lalta Gainda, the Marketing Manager of the Guyana Cricket Board, and sponsor of the competition through the Tropical Spring Water Brand, indicated that the tournament will be embraced as one where the older players can become active again. He also committed to supporting next year.

The tournament, which involves 16 teams, will have eight teams in Demerara competing for four quarter-final places, four Essequibo teams battling for two quarter-final spots and four rival teams representing the Berbice location, competing for two quarter-final berths.

The teams will be competing for a top prize of G$250,000. The runners-up will receive G$100,000.

On the opening day Saturday, West Demerara Masters will face hosts Everest Masters from 10:00h followed by KV Construction of Ogle against Regal Masters at 14:00h.

At Enmore, West Demerara Mavericks will take on Enterprise followed by Soesdyke Masters and Bel-Air Rubis Masters going head-to-head.

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