Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

A dramatic batting collapse and poor bowling were at the root of the West Indies five-wicket loss to New Zealand in the opening encounter of their three-match T20 series in Auckland on Friday.

In a match interrupted several times by rain, the West Indies lost five wickets for one run but recovered to 180 for 7 from 16 overs thanks to some calculated hitting from their captain, Kieron Pollard.

However, New Zealand replied with 179 for five from 15.2 overs to win by Duckworth/Lewis method.

The home side won the toss and asked the visitors to bat and they obliged racing to 58 without loss in 19 balls courtesy of Andre Fletcher’s 14-ball 34 that included three fours and three sixes.

However, when he was bowled by Lockie Ferguson the second ball of the fourth over, it triggered a collapse wherein the West Indies lost five wickets in 11 balls. Four balls later, he had Shimron Hetmyer caught behind without scoring – 58 for 2.

The West Indies lost two wickets in the following over bowled by Tim Southee, who removed Brandon King for 13 and Rovman Powell without scoring as the West Indies stumbled to 58 for 4. In the very next over, Ferguson trapped Nicholas Pooran lbw for 1 and the West Indies had collapsed to 59 for 5.

Pollard came to the rescue of the Caribbean side as he and Fabian Allen hauled the West Indies to 143 in the 14th over when Ferguson had Allen caught for 30 behind and Keemo Paul out by a similar route without scoring to leave the West Indies 146 for 7.

Meanwhile, at the other end Pollard was at his destructive best, smashing 75 off just 37 balls with four fours and eight sixes to carry the Caribbean side to a competitive total.

Man of the Match Ferguson returned figures of 5 for 21 from his four overs, while Southee took 2 for 22 from 3.

However, the Pollard-led recovery was all for naught as New Zealand, led by Neesham’s unbeaten 24-ball 48 and Devon Conway’s 29-ball 41, propelled New Zealand to 179 for 5 from 15.2overs and the series lead.

Neesham and Conway dragged New Zealand back from 63 for 4 mid-way the seventh over to what turned out to be a comfortable victory. In a fifth-wicket stand of 77 that came off just 34 balls, the pair smashed the West Indies bowling to all parts before Conway fell to Pollard in the 13th over but by then the damage had been done.

Mitchell Santer picked up from there smashing three sixes as he raced to an unbeaten 31 from just 18 balls to secure victory.

New Zealand were aided by poor bowling from the West Indies, especially from Keemo Paul and Kesrick Williams being, who were most culpable. Paul bowled five no-balls while giving up 39 runs from his three overs while Williams’ half volleys saw him being taken for 33 runs from two overs. Allen gave up 32 from two overs.

Oshane Thomas 2 for 23 from three overs was the best of the West Indies bowlers while Sheldon Cottrell returned figures of 1 for 30 from his four overs.

 

 

Kraigg Brathwaite completed a double-century on day two of their warm-up match against New Zealand ‘A’ at Queenstown as the West Indies went to lunch on 463 for 4.

At the break, Brathwaite was unbeaten on 235 and Shane Dowrich, 19. So far the pair have added 34 runs for the fifth wicket from nine overs.

Resuming from his overnight score of 183 and the West Indies 353 for 3, Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood, 19 overnight, pushed the score for 429 when the latter was bowled by Rachin Ravindra for 53.

Blackwood scored his runs from 82 balls in his 115-minute stay at the crease during which he hit four fours. Together the pair that came together at 322 for 3, put in 107 runs in 27.1 overs as the West Indies continued to build on their massive total.

Ravindra has taken 2 for 59 from 19 overs.

Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts has written to the President of the Argentina Football Association Claudio Tapia expressing his sorrow at the passing of football legend Diego Maradona.

The 60-year-old Maradona, who was widely considered one of, if not the best player that has ever lived, died of cardiac arrest in his sleep Wednesday, mere weeks after undergoing brain surgery.

His death has set off a wave of mourning across the globe for the player who captivated the world of football for more than two decades. Among them, the JFF.

“The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is indeed saddened by the death of the legendary Diego Armando Maradona. He was an extraordinary player and an inspiration to individuals in every corner of the world, including Jamaica,” the letter stated.

“We watched him with awe throughout his glorious career and remember him in a good way. His performances for Argentina, especially those at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, are etched indelibly in our subconscious. Many of my countrymen became supporters of your team because of his incredible exploits.

“The JFF extends condolences to the Argentina Football Federation and the people of Argentina who have lost a true football icon. May his soul rest in peace in the hands of God.”

Meanwhile, Olivia Grange, Jamaica’s Minister of Gender, Culture, Entertainment and Sports said she was also saddened by the news.

“This is a sad day for world football. Whether you supported Argentina or not, you have to admit that Diego Maradona was one of the greatest football players the world has ever seen. Nobody dribbled like Maradona. Maradona was colourful and gifted and made the game exciting.  It was a pleasure to watch him play at every level,” she said in a statement.

“People will recall the ‘hand of God’ controversy and his personal struggle with substance abuse.  But I want to focus on his skill that propelled him to make his international debut at age 17; his World Cup glory in 1986, his winning the FIFA Player of the Century award in 2000, jointly with another great, Pele and just the inspiration that he was and will continue to be for football players and fans everywhere.”

She described Maradona’s passing as  a great loss to the world of sports as he inspired an entire generation of youths across the world to be involved in and support football.

 “May his soul rest in peace.  We will miss him,” she said.

Wesley Brown followed up his first-round score of 66 on Monday with a five-under par 67 to win the two-day Sterling Asset Management-sponsored Golf Tournament by the Pro Golf League in the  at the Caymanas Golf Course in St Catherine on Tuesday.

In the final tournament on the Jamaican Pro League calendar, Brown’s exceptional play saw him finish 13 shots clear of Raymond Brown and Sean Green, who shot identical scores of 72 and 74, respectively, for overall scores of 146.

Allan Graham completed the final round with a 77 for an overall score of 150 while Orville Christie and Ricardo Perry shot 79s and 74s, respectively, to close on 153, a massive 20 shots off the winner.

Al Robinson, who was six-over on Monday, was seven-over on Tuesday for a score of 157.

Martin Butt was the best of the Senior Pros with a final round score of 73 but he just managed to hold off a charging Joel Campbell. Campbell’s 69 was the best score of the final round but had him coming up a stroke short of Butt’s combined score of 148.

Campbell was eight-over and five shots behind at close of play on Monday.

Meanwhile, Linval Higgins final round score of 78 gave him a combined score of 152 for third. Windell Stewart was a further shot back after he closed with 74, an improvement on the 79 he shot on Monday.

Joe Soe (77/79) for 156 and Ian Christie (81/77) for 158 rounded out the top five.

Sean Morris was the best of the amateurs with his final round score of 73 to register a two-stroke win over first-round leader Justin Burrowes, who shot a 79 to fall behind to finish two shots back.

Having shot a first round score of 74, Shamir Wilson wasted a glorious opportunity to challenge for the win but collapsed with an 8-over par score of 80 to register a final score of 154 to finish third, four shots off the pace.

Rocco Lopez’s opening round of 75 had also put him in early contention but he imploded massively on Tuesday with an 11-over par 83 to finish eight strokes behind the winner. He ended in a tie with Christian Chin, who shot 82 to finish on 158.

Ahman Dhiman (81) for 162 and Milan Roof (94) for 173 rounded the amateurs.

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Kraigg Brathwaite produced an unbeaten hundred and Darren Bravo just missed out on his second of the tour as the West Indies compiled 353 for 3 against New Zealand ‘A’ on the opening day of the second warm-up match at the John Davies Oval in Queenstown on Thursday.

Football legend Diego Maradona has died after suffering cardiac arrest, multiple media entities are reporting.

The Argentinian who led his country to the 1986 World Cup title in Mexico, died two weeks after being released from hospital after undergoing brain surgery.

Considered one of the greatest ever to play the game during his illustrious but oftentimes scandal-ridden career, Maradona played for Newell's Old Boys, Sevilla, Napoli, Barcelona, Boca Juniors and Argentinos Juniors scoring more than 250 goals in a career spanning more than two decades.

He represented Argentina at the 1982, 1986, 1990 and 1994 World Cups and scored 34 goals in 91 appearances for the national team. At the 1986 World Cup, he controversially scored with the "Hand of God" in Argentina's 2-1 win over England. His second goal in that match is widely regarded as one of the best goals ever scored in a World Cup.

Maradona was the coach of Argentinian club Gimnasia y Esgrima at the time of his death. He was 60 years old.

In a time of national crises stemming from the eight-month old global pandemic, two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce continues to come to the rescue of many of those in need.

West Indies batsman Darren Bravo believes that being appointed captain of the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in January aided in his development and his maturity as a cricketer.

Alia Atkinson capped off her strong 2020 ISL campaign with two second-place and a third place finish during the weekend finals when last season’s runners up, London Roar, finished third.

Jai Hind, West Berbice and Demerara Masters were among the winners during Sunday's round of matches in the GCB Tropical Spring T20 Over 40 Tournament in Guyana.

Jai Hind defeated Sarjoo Tigers by 38 runs at the Jai Hind Ground in Berbice.

Batting first, Jai Hind opening batsman Subramani Mangal blazed 36 and Kemraj Sumair, 29, to propel the team to 154 for 7 from their 20 overs.

Mangal smashed three fours and a six that helped set the foundation for the competitive score. Sumair, who batted at three, hit two fours and two sixes. Zahir Moakan contributed a useful 18 runs that included a six and a four.

David Perreira was the pick of the bowlers with 2 for 19 from three overs while there was a wicket each for Mark Ferreira, Tagenarine Ramroop and Rohan Sarjoo.

Chasing 158 for victory, opening batsman Surendra Hiralall gave the Tigers a good start, hitting two fours and two sixes in his score of 33. However, other than Tagenarine Ramroop, who stroked a polished 39, which included a four and three sixes, the remainder of the batting failed to deliver as the Tigers were restricted to 117.

Mangal completed an outstanding match claiming 2 for 8 from three overs. However, Rafeek Kassim was the best of the bowlers returning the incredible figures of 2 for 2 from two overs.

In the day’s second match at the Jai Hind ground, West Berbice defeated General Marine Masters by six wickets.

Batting first, General Marine Masters was only able to muster 91 for 9 from their 20 overs. Daiaram Hemraj was the top scorer with 23 while middle order batsman Mustak Shaw contributed 18 to the score.  Rajban Hemraj was the best of the West Berbice bowlers taking 4 for 8 from three overs.

In what proved to be a comfortable chase, Jaipaul Hiralall scored an unbeaten 44 as West Berbice eased to 92 for 4 from 16 overs. Hemraj followed up his four-wicket haul with 11 runs in the successful pursuit. Hemchan Persaud returned figures of 2 for 6 in the losing effort.

Over in Demerara county, intermittent rainfall saw the match between Bel-Air Rubis Ultra Tec and West Demerara Masters being reduced to 15 overs a side, which the latter won by seven wickets.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, Bel-Air Rubis Utra Tec posted a meagre 78-9. Richard Rambarran top scored with 18, while Nadir Baksh added 11. Nirmaldeo Sarwan and Shauan Messiah each made 10 as Mohamed Abit Haniff picked up two wickets for just five runs.

West Demerara Masters reached their target in the 13th over as Ramesh Thakur (19) and Sudesh (18) led the way before falling to the bowling of Arthur Duke who took 2-16.

The first match at the Enmore Community Centre ground saw West Demerara Mavericks emerge winners over KV Construction by virtue of walk over. Both matches at the Everest ground were abandoned due to heavy rainfall.

The tournament resumes on Tuesday, 24 November when West Demerara Mavericks take on West Demerara Masters and RP Construction Legends versus Everest Masters at the Enmore Community Centre.

At the Everest Cricket club ground, Bel-Air Rubis Ultra Tec will battle Regal Masters in the morning encounter while KV Construction Masters will compete against Sand Pipper

Darren Bravo said challenging himself to bat for as long as possible was the key factor behind his century against New Zealand A on Saturday.

Olympic hopefuls for the Tokyo Olympic Games have expressed delight about an expedited JMD$40 million injection by the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) under its ‘Olympic Invest’ programme, to fund their preparation and qualification.

Among them was 2016 Olympian Yona Knight-Wisdom, who underlined the impact on preparation created by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“2020 has, of course, been difficult for everybody, but particularly for athletes in so many ways - spending so much time away from normal training, losing the chance to earn prize money from competitions and also the exposure that big events can bring. So it’s great to finally be back in full-time training, preparing for whatever 2021 brings,” said the diver based in the United Kingdom.

“But to have the financial backing of the JOA will help to give me that extra bit of motivation to work hard every day and be ready to compete to my highest level when the time comes,” the 25-year-old added.

Kinght-Wisdom created history in becoming the first athlete to represent Jamaica in Olympic diving competition at the 2016 Rio Games. He explained that additional JOA funding will allow him to focus unilaterally on competition.

“This investment will allow for me to get more physiotherapy to help look after my body, as well as to help pay for day-to-day training expenses such as travel, which means I can focus on the important things,” he said.

“Hopefully this support will allow all of us to represent Jamaica to our highest level in Tokyo, because I believe a successful Olympics will bring joy and lift the spirits of the island as we come out of this terrible pandemic.”

Tafari Whitter of Skateboarding Jamaica Limited, who is hoping to become the nation’s first Olympic skateboarder believes the funds being made available will ease difficulties created by COVID-19.

“I am very proud of the JOA family on the fast track of 40 million dollars for athletes’ preparation, due to COVID making things hard for most of us,” said Whitter.

“The JOA family managed to still keep things under control throughout these rough times and that is why I am so thankful and grateful for the opportunity of being part of history. Love you Jamaica. Let’s go to Tokyo. I am so, so proud of the JOA family.”

Martial artist Alton Brown has his sights firmly set on Olympic competition in karate. He is the number-one ranked male karate athlete within the Caribbean and number two in his division across Pan America and number 22 in the world.

“I have my eyes firmly set on two objectives; qualification and medal success at the Tokyo Games and legacy within Jamaica Karate following the Games. This additional funding from the JOA will have a vital impact on my ability to continue to pursue and successfully reach those goals,” Brown said.

“The movement towards qualification at these Games has been four years in the making and would not be possible without the JOA’s support at key moments throughout this journey. In addition, the efforts of the Jamaica Karate Federation, under the leadership of Tony Robinson, have been instrumental in getting us to this moment.”

Brown explained that the rigors of qualification demands monetary support.

“Since 2018, the financial burden to the athlete of participating in the karate qualification process for Tokyo has been unprecedented, with almost 20 events taking place across five continents,” he shared.

“We have adapted well to the COVID-19 Pandemic, utilizing relationships we hold with national teams across the Caribbean and Europe to continue development. This funding will not only allow us to be present at the final qualification events from February 2021, but also maximize the relationships we hold with other national teams, to ensure vital partner training opportunities necessary to continue to produce world-class results.

“The world is taking note of Jamaica Karate and this additional funding will allow us to finish the race and make Jamaica proud,” said Brown.

 

I use my Sundays to look back at what has been happening in the world of sport. On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week through different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT. 

 

  1. Batting clicked in Windies warm-up match

The three-day warm-up match between New Zealand A and West Indies at Queenstown ended in a draw on Sunday. Electing to bat first after winning the toss, New Zealand ‘A’ put up a dominant display of batting to post 308 for 3 declared in the first innings and then 124 for 1. The Windies scored 366 in what must be considered a commendable effort.

     The 112-run partnership between Kraigg Brathwaite and Darren Bravo helped bring the Windies compile a good score after opener John Campbell was bowled for 4.

Brathwaite went on to score 47 while gave a glimpse of his class in a memorable Bravo 135. Bravo knock included 13 fours and five sixes. Top order batsman Shamarh Brooks also stepped up with the bat scoring 80 while Captain Rostan Chase contributed 42 from 76 balls. 

  There is cause for optimism when considering the performance with the bat from the West Indies even though John Campbell does need to show greater game awareness and application. The lower order also needs to raise their game as four of the batsmen were dismissed in single digits.

Despite the commendable batting performance, the Windies had a tough time with the ball. Kemar Roach, Chemar Holder and Rahkeem Cornwall ended the match wicket-less and the bowling attack only managed to snare four wickets during the match.

If the West Indies are to be competitive during the coming series, the bowlers need to quickly shake off the rust and get firing.

 

  1. A sigh of relief for Trinidad and Tobago’s football!

Football’s world governing body, FIFA, on Thursday lifted the suspension of the Trinidad and Tobago football Association, TTFA. The decision was communicated in a letter to the Head of FIFA’s normalization committee in T&T, Robert Hadad. This is a major fillip for Trinidad and Tobago’s football as it paves the way for the team to participate in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and World Cup qualifiers. 

     Despite the setbacks, it is my hope that the normalization committee will cleared the massive debt burdening the association while paying salaries and getting the national team ready for international competition.

  1. Huge blow to Golden State Warriors after Klay Thompson’s injury

The Golden State Warriors star guard Klay Thompson suffered a season-ending tear to his right Achilles tendon during a workout last Wednesday in Southern California. The 30-year-old Thompson missed all of last season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. 

The Warriors were hopeful that Thompson would return fit and ready to compete for the 2020-21 season. However, they are now trying to figure out how they will cope without one half of the Splash Brothers, whose absence contributed to their league’s worst record (15-50) last season.

 Another season without Thompson on the court will be a huge blow to the Golden State Warriors chances of winning a title next season. How does one accept that such a dependable star has become so vulnerable? 

 

 

West Indies bowlers once again showed a lack of a cutting edge as their three-day match against New Zealand ‘A’ petered out to a dull draw at the John Davies Oval at Queenstown on Sunday.

The Guyana Cricket Board Tropical Spring Over 40 T20 Competition bowls off on Saturday, November 21, across grounds in three counties in what will be the first competition held since the GCB was forced to suspend activities due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sixteen teams will compete for a first prize of Guy$250,00 while the runners up will secure Guy$100,000.

Eight teams in Demerara will compete for four quarter-final places, four Essequibo teams will battle for two quarter-final places while four teams representing the Berbice region will compete for two quarter – final places.

The preliminary round of matches will conclude on Saturday, 5 December 2020 with the quarter-finals being held on Sunday, 6 December 2020. The semi-finals have been scheduled for Friday, 11 December 2020 and the Final on Saturday, 12 December 2020.

Games in Demerara will be played at the Everest and Enmore cricket grounds while the Berbice matches will be played at Jai Hind ground. The Essequibo-leg of matches will take place at Imam Bacchus’ ground.

The GCB said it was grateful to the Ministry of Health and the country’s COVID-19 Task force for granting approval for the return to competition and has called on all players and officials to ensure that there is strict adherence to the Covid-19 protocols.

Further, GCB extends gratitude to tournament sponsor, Tropical Spring.

The teams: Reliance Sports Club, Invaders Masters, Imam Bacchus Over 40, Jaguars Over 40, West Demerara Masters, West Demerara Mavericks, Everest Masters, Regal Masters, KV Construction Masters, RP Construction Legends, Sand Piper Masters, Bel-Air Rubis Ultra Tec, General Marine Masters, Jai Hind Masters, Sarjoo Tigers, and West Berbice Masters

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