EAST Zone and Central were declared joint champions of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board Under-19 Inter Zone competition which ended on Wednesday at the National Cricket Centre in Balmain, Couva.
The two-day match was called off at approximately 4.30 pm because of incessant rain in the post-lunch period which left the outfield waterlogged with Central Zone on 146 for six wickets in reply to East Zone’s 216 all out in their first innings.
Dejourn Charles top-scored for Central Zone with 61, which comprised eight boundaries and a maximum and was the only batsman to resist the penetrative East Zone bowling, led by Jerome Gibbs and Nathaniel McDavid who took two wickets apiece.
Other reasonable scores came from Central Zone skipper SaibaBatoosingh who made 19 and Bryan Boodram who contributed 15, while JarlarnieSeales struck 14.
On Tuesday, East Zone took the upper hand in the two-day encounter after Central Zone won the toss and inserted their rivals who were dismissed for 216. In reply Central were 43 for two wickets, at the close with two of their most experienced players, captain SaibaBatoosingh and Dejorn Charles, the overnight batsmen.
Earlier batting prodigy KirstanKallicharan scored a scintillating 78off 135 balls with ten fours to anchor the East Zone innings of 216 all out in 69.5 overs. He got valuable support from another half-centurion, Nathaniel McDavid, who struck a well-played 55 (93 balls with ten boundaries).
Opening batsman Keegan Simmons contributed 26, and Mikeel Mohammed made a composed 20 batting down the order.
Most successful bowler for Central was Matthew Patrick who captured three wickets for 37 runs in 11 overs, while EmiloGopaul, Dejorn Charles and Bryan Boodram finished with two apiece.
With 63 minutes of batting time available, after at least 90 minutes of play was lost through rain in the pre and post-lunch period, Central Zone was rocked back when opener CrystianThurton was bowled for a duck by Jerome Gibbs in the second over of the innings without a run on the board.
However, Charles and Matthew Patrick steadied the ship with a sensible partnership of 34.
But in what turned out to the third ball of the 15thand final over of the day on Tuesday, Patrick had his stumps disturbed by Kallicharanafter a patient innings had brought him nine runs, leaving Charles undefeated on 19 with four boundaries.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Men’s Team will have a third international match added to its slate of international fixtures scheduled to start on May 23rd after confirming a Friendly with China’s National Senior Team to be played on June 3rd in the City of Qin Huang Dao.
TTFA President David John-Williams disclosed on Tuesday that the game, which falls inside the international window, has been confirmed and the “Soca Warriors” will travel to China following its match against Uruguay on May 27th. T&T will also face Peru in Lima on May 23rd.
T&T has faced China only once before at the senior international level, losing 3-0 during a four-nation tournament on September 5th2001 at the Shanghai Stadium under then head coach Rene Simoes.
Looking ahead to the encounter, T&T head coach Stephen Hart described the fixture as one which be a “telling” experience for the team.
“China has shown that they want to be an international powerhouse in the game. They have secured some high profile games just like we have and coming on the back of the Uruguay game, this will be a telling experience for us,”Hart told TTFA Media.
“We are grateful for the opportunity and this is one that may open new footballing doors to Asia for us in the future,” he added.
“Our line up of games is quite healthy and we now have a busy schedule beginning later this month as we continue our focus on the two World Cup qualifying games in September against Guatemala and the United States,” Hart said.
China has qualified for the final phase of Asian World Cup qualifying for the first time since 2001 when they went on to qualify for the 2002 World Cup. They defeated Qatar 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier on March 29th and are also preparing for a June 7th Friendly against Andorra. Their next World Cup assignment is against South Korea on September 1st and Iran five days later.
China’s National Development and Reform Commission released a plan a few weeks ago to have one of the world’s leading national teams by 2050. The first stage, already underway, is to introduce soccer in 20,000 schools, with 30 million children playing the game regularly by the end of the decade. The midterm stage, to take place from 2021 to 2030, is for the men’s national team to become one of the standout teams in Asia.
There has been a lot of action and progress in the Chinese Super League. After five years of rising spending, the league as a whole spent around $300 million over the winter to acquire players like Alex Teixeira of Brazil and Jackson Martínez of Colombia. Other names that have joined the Chinese Super League in the past include Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Frederic Kanoute. The League has several players from Brazil and Latin America. Among the managers who have had former jobs there include ex-Argentina coach Sergio Batista and Italian Marcello Lippi.