Albion and Everest to resume rivalry in annual Independence Challenge

- Emancipation Trophy also on the cards


By Avenash Ramzan

Two of the country’s leading First Division clubs will resume an age-old rivalry under the banner of the inaugural Dave’s West Indian Imports and Exports Independence Challenge, to be played as part of activities to observe the country’s Independence anniversary next month.

City side Everest Cricket Club and Albion Community Centre Cricket Club (ACCCC) of Berbice will face off in a 40-over match on May 26 at the Everest ground, with some of the country’s leading cricketers set to grace the occasion.

This annual clash has historical significance, as these two clubs had previous exchanges, the last being in the early 90s.

Once available, Everest will have the likes of West Indies all-rounder Keemo Paul, ODI batsman Chandrapaul Hemraj, Guyana Harpy Eagles opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul, First-Class batsman Akshaya Persaud, West Indies Under-19 opener Matthew Nandu and all-rounder Clinton Pestano.

Albion will include Test spinner Veerasammy Permaul, West Indies T20 left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie, former West Indies leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, Guyana Harpy Eagles wicketkeeper/batsman Anthony Bramble and all-rounder Jonathon Foo.

At the official launch of what would now become an annual feature on the local cricket calendar, Everest Cricket Club president Manzoor Nadir and ACCCC Secretary Omarnauth Outar both welcomed the move to have the club involved in a friendly yet competitive showpiece.

They both commended overseas-based Guyanese and title sponsor Dave Narine of Dave’s West Indian Imports and Exports for seeing it fit to associate his company to such an endeavour.

“We are elated to be involved in this,” Outar said, noting that cricketers at Albion are excited for the opportunity to feature in such a game.

He added that Albion and Everest have a long and rich history, one that is defined by producing cricket and cricketers of a high quality.

“So this Challenge will be of a very high standard,” Outar envisaged.

Narine used the opportunity to state that his vision is to see Guyana’s cricket develop, hence his constant sponsorship at the various levels in recent years.

The businessman and cricket fanatic lauded the two clubs for renewing their rivalry, noting that it’s not about who wins on May 26, but about the game being the winner in the end.

Nadir announced that later in the year- the final Sunday in July to be specific- these two teams will clash again, this time in what would be called the Emancipation Trophy. The 2022 edition of this match will be played at the Albion ground.

Going forward, Nadir explained, the venues for the Independence Challenge and Emancipation Trophy would alternate between the Albion and Everest grounds.

“Dave has readily stepped up to the plate because one of the exciting thing about this game is the incentives. At least half a million dollars will go the winning club,” Nadir said.

Apart from cash incentives for every six (G$6,000) and four (G$4,000) hit, individual awards will also be up for grabs for the best bowling performance, highest score and every catch.

Dave’s West Indian Imports and Exports aside, Super Bet has come onboard as a sponsor, while the Guyana Tourism Authority has pledged its support.

Also present at the launch were Bishoo, Everest Cricket Club Life Member Rajesh Singh and Director (ag) of the Guyana Tourism Authority Kamrul Baksh.

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