The West Indies Academy completed a tense three-wicket win over the Barbados Pride on Saturday’s fourth and final day of their seventh round West Indies Championship clash at Coolidge.

The Pride, who began Saturday 228-5 off 92 overs leading the Academy by 138, carried on to post 308 from 113.3 overs to leave the Academy needing 219 for victory.

Raymon Reifer, who entered Saturday on 43*, went on to make 82 off 160 balls while Demetrius Richards contributed 46.

Ashmead Nedd finished with 3-80 from 33.3 overs to support Joshua Bishop who ended with 3-59 from 30 overs.

The Academy then needed 67.4 overs to reach 219-7 and secure the win.

Openers Rashawn Worrell and Kadeem Alleyne led the way with 63 and 52, respectively, before Carlon Bowen-Tuckett guided his team home with an unbeaten 27*.

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite took 3-28 from 10.4 overs while Jomel Warrican took 3-62 from 24 overs.

Full Scores: Barbados Pride 153 all out off 39.5 overs (Jonathan Drakes 33, Kevin Wickham 27, Shian Brathwaite 26, Johann Layne 3-23, McKenny Clarke 3-26, Joshua Bishop 2-23, Ramon Simmonds 2-43) & 308 all out off 113.3 overs (Kraigg Brathwaite 90, Raymon Reifer 82, Demetrius Richards 46, Kevin Wickham 35, Joshua Bishop 3-59, Ashmead Nedd 3-80)

West Indies Academy 243 all out off 61.3 overs (Ackeem Auguste 76, Carlon Bowen-Tuckett 49, Johann Layne 38, Akeem Jordan 4-76, Raymon Reifer 2-32, Jair McAllister 2-40) & 219-7 off 67.4 overs (Rashawn Worrell 63, Kadeem Alleyne 52, Carlon Bowen-Tuckett 27*, Kraigg Brathwaite 3-28, Jomel Warrican 3-62).

The game between the Windward Islands Volcanoes and Leeward Islands Hurricanes at the Queen’s Park Oval ended in a draw.

On a rain-shortened fourth and final day, the Windwards eventually reached 296-7 off 94 overs, 120 runs short of their target after starting the day 112-1.

Full Scores: Leeward Islands Hurricanes 300 all out off 82.5 overs (Mikyle Louis 100, Jewel Andrew 68, Jeremiah Louis 43, Ryan John 3-67, Gilon Tyson 2-33) & 294 all out off 79.2 overs (Keacy Carty 65, Mikyle Louis 33, Kavem Hodge 3-60, Gilon Tyson 3-91)

Windward Islands Volcanoes 179 all out off 53 overs (Johann Jeremiah 42, Shamar Springer 33, Daniel Doram 6-34, Hayden Walsh Jr 3-21) & 296-7 off 94 overs (Stephan Pascal 63, Johann Jeremiah 51, Shamar Springer 35, Daniel Doram 4-65, Hayden Walsh Jr 2-46).

These results confirmed the Guyana Harpy Eagles as champions of the West Indies Championship for the second straight season. The Harpy Eagles dismantled the Jamaica Scorpions by an innings and 125 runs inside three days at Sabina Park in round seven.

David Bedingham smashed 138 from 99 balls as Durham took a stranglehold on their Vitality County Championship Division One clash with Worcestershire at Kidderminster.

The home side had been bowled out for 184 as Ben Raine, Matthew Potts and Paul Coughlin claimed three wickets each to give the visitors a 60-run first-innings lead.

Bedingham’s knock, which included 13 fours and eight sixes, and 75 from skipper Scott Borthwick helped to increase that advantage to 379 by stumps on day two as the promoted side reached 319 for five.

Bowlers Craig Overton and Migael Pretorius staged a remarkable 139-run partnership to put Somerset in a commanding position against Nottinghamshire.

The pair came together at 314 for eight and remained at the wicket until the South African fell for 77. Overton was then left stranded on 95 when last man Shoaib Bashir was dismissed for a duck with the score on 454.

Nottinghamshire, who made 193 on day one, were 38 for one in their second innings as they reduced the deficit to 223 runs.

Earlier Somerset opener Sean Dickson had added just two to his overnight score of 70 and Tom Banton contributed 83, with Calvin Harrison’s four for 93 the pick of the bowling.

Fletcha Middleton and Nick Gubbins put on an unbeaten 124 for the second wicket as they attempted to drag Hampshire back into touch with Warwickshire at Southampton.

Gubbins had reached 67 and Middleton 61 by stumps with their side 140 for one after the visitors were finally bowled out for 455, thanks in large part to England spinner Liam Dawson’s haul of five for 146 in 40.1 overs.

Rory Burns and Dom Sibley forged an opening stand of 147 as champions Surrey closed to within 59 runs of Kent’s first-innings total on day two at Canterbury.

Sibley will resume on 87 from a total of 185 for one after Tom Lawes and Cameron Steel each took three wickets as the home side were bowled out for 244.

Skipper Tom Westley hit 81 to help Essex take control of their showdown with Lancashire at Chelmsford.

Having resumed on 68 for one in reply to the visitors’ 146, the hosts made 377 with opener Dean Elgar going for 79 and George Balderson taking three for 75, and the Red Rose county finished the day on 10 for one in their second innings, a deficit of 221.

In Division Two, Leicestershire opener Marcus Harris plundered a double-century as Derbyshire were left with a mountain to climb.

Harris’ 214 was the backbone of a mammoth total of 574 for seven declared in which Peter Handscomb and Ben Cox hit 68 and 69 respectively.

The hosts’ response then got off to a dreadful start with Harry Came, Luis Reece, Wayne Madsen and Brooke Guest all falling cheaply as they limped to 54 for four by the close.

Tom Alsop’s 84 and an unbeaten 75 from Cheteshwar Pujara helped Sussex reach 267 for five as they ate into Gloucestershire’s first-innings total of 417.

Danny Lamb and Jack Carson had both taken three wickets as Zafar Gohar’s 60 and 45 not out from Zaman Akhter eased the visitors past 400 at Hove.

Yorkshire face a fight to set a competitive total after a challenging second day against Middlesex at Lord’s.

Having seen the hosts take an 87-run first innings lead thanks to half-centuries from Leus du Plooy and Josh De Caires, they ended the day on 216 for seven in their second – Toby Roland-Jones and Ryan Higgins claiming three wickets each – and will resume 129 ahead.

Ricardo Vasconcelos’ 166 not out left Northamptonshire in a dominant position at Glamorgan.

The hosts were 314 for two at the close, 43 runs ahead with Ben Sanderson having taken five for 92 as the Welsh side, for whom Colin Ingram scored 82, had been dismissed for 271.

Legendary West Indian batsman Sir Vivian Richards is backing the regional side to go all the way and claim a third ICC Men’s T20 World Cup title at the upcoming tournament.

The Darren Sammy-coached and Rovman Powell-captained West Indies will square off against some of the world's best teams at the June 1-29 showpiece, which will be jointly hosted in the Caribbean and United States. West Indies won the 2012 and 2016 editions of the tournament.

Richards gave the team a rousing vote of confidence as he spoke during the ongoing global trophy tour, which touched down in his homeland Antigua earlier this week.

“It’s really exciting to see that one of the biggest sporting events on the global calendar will be coming to the West Indies and the USA and we will have matches right here in Antigua. For me, and my fellow Antiguans this is a tremendous event and we as absolutely delighted to host the world on our shores," Richards shared.

“As I look ahead to the matches, I’m backing my West Indies team to deliver on the big day. We have a very good team, and they look united under Rovman Powell, so I’m throwing my full support behind my team. It would be great to win this ICC Men’s T20 World Cup on our home soil. We won twice before … those were way (in Sri Lanka in 2012 and India in 2016), so a third title would be great, and where better, than at home in front of our great West Indian fans to celebrate," he added.

Richards was joined by former Antigua and West Indies greats Sir Andy Roberts, Sir Richie Ricardson, and Sir Curtly Ambrose as they posed for photos and videos at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. During the session, they also offered words of encouragement to several young cricketers who were specially selected to attend the event and were delighted to meet their heroes.

The trophy tour made several other stops at iconic locations – Shirley Heights, Nelson Dockyard; and Heritage Quay, and the Antigua Recreation Ground in St John’s. It was also hosted by Governor General Sir Rodney Williams, Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Minister of Sports Daryll Matthew. ICC and CWI thanked the Government of Antigua and Barbuda for their tremendous support in hosting the trophy tour events and the upcoming tournament.

West Indies have been drawn alongside Afghanistan, New Zealand, Uganda and Papua New Guinea in the opening round. They bowl off their title hunt against PNG on June 2, at the Guyana National Stadium, followed by a clash with newcomers Uganda at the same venue on June 8. From there they travel to Trinidad to face New Zealand at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on June 12. Their final preliminary contest will be against the Afghans on June 17 at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in Saint Lucia.

 

Reigning champions Guyana Harpy Eagles strengthened their position to retain the West Indies Championship title, as they downed Combined Campuses & Colleges Marooners by eight wickets in their final round encounter at Frank Worrell Field, in Trinidad and Tobago, on Friday.

Set 180 for victory, Harpy Eagles, through half-centuries from Raymond Perez (79 not out) and captain Tevin Imlach (50), as well as 42 from Tagenarine Chanderpaul, got across the line with minimum fuss, to successfully wrap up what started out as a slow campaign.

Scores: Combined Campuses and Colleges Marooners 200 (Demario Richards 43, Romario Greaves 36, Avinash Mahabirsingh 23, Amari Goodridge 22, Jediah Blades 22 not out, Jarion Hoyte 21; Nial Smith 3-45, Veerasammy Permaul 3-51, Gudakesh Motie 2-40, Isai Thorne 2-45) and 203 (Shamarh Brooks 59, Odaine McCatty 56, Jario Hoyte 22; Kevin Sinclair 2-29, Niall Smith 2-35, Gudakesh Motie 2-42, Veerasammy Permaul 2-44).

Guyana Harpy Eagles 223 all out (Raymond Perez 62, Tevin Imlach 55, Kevin Sinclair 37, Kevlon Anderson 27; Avinash Mahabirsingh 17.4-2-51-8) and 182 for two (Raymond Perez 79 not out, Tevin Imlach 50, Tagenarine Chanderpaul 42).

Resuming on 165-7, the Marooners only added 38 runs to their overnight total, with captain Shamarh Brooks (59), adding only five to his 54 from overnight, before being removed by Niall Smith. Jarion Hoyte (22) and Jediah Blades (11) offered little resistance before the innings inevitably ended.

Kevin Sinclair (2-29), Smith (2-35), Gudakesh Motie (2-42), and Veerasammy Permaul (2-44), shared the wickets.

With the bowlers’ job done, the batsmen responded with much gusto, as Chanderpaul and Perez laid the foundation for the chase with a solid opening stand. Chanderpaul had three fours and a solitary six in his 62-ball knock, before his departure brought Imlach to the middle.

The captain, along with Perez took the Marooners bowlers to task in another tidy partnership that ensured they ended the campaign on a high. Imlach’s 51-ball 50 included six fours and a lone six, while Perez’s unbeaten 79 off 92 balls had five fours and two sixes.

With their job done, Harpy Eagles, who started the round in third position on 87.2 points, will have to await the outcome of the other contests involving leaders Windward Islands Volcanoes and second-placed Barbados Pride.

The 12 match points before bonus has pushed Harpy Eagles up to 99.2 points, and ahead of Windward Islands Volcanoes (90 points), who require a daunting 304 runs to top Leeward Islands Hurricanes, while Barbados Pride (87.6 points), lead CWI Academy by 21 runs, heading into Saturday’s final day.

Elsewhere, At the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua, Barbados Pride, with five second innings wickets intact, will seek to build on their lead and possibly bowl down CWI Academy to stand at chance of claiming top spot.

Scores: Barbados Pride 155 (Jonathan Drakes 35, Kevin Wickham 27, Shian Brathwaite 26, Demetrius Richards 21 not out; Johann Layne 3-23, McKenny Clarke 3-26, Joshua Bishop 2-25, Ramon Simmonds 2-43) and 228-5 (Kraigg Brathwaite 90, Raymon Reifer 43 not out, Kevin Wickham 35, Shian Brathwaite 21; Joshua Bishop 3-43).

CWI Academy 243 (Ackeem Auguste 76, Carlon Tuckett-Bowen 49, Johan Layne 38, McKenny Clarke 30; Akeem Jordan 4-76, Raymon Reifer 2-32, Jair McAllister 2-40, Shaquille Cumberbatch 2-75).

At Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago, Windward Islands Volcanoes has nine second innings wickets in hand to try and get the remaining 304 runs to deny Leeward Islands Hurricanes (84.6 points) a fifth win of the campaign.

Scores: Leeward Islands Hurricanes 300 (Mikyle Louis 100, Jewel Andrew 68, Jeremiah Louis 43, Jahmar Hamilton 34; Ryan John 3-67, Gilon Tyson 2-33, Daren Cyrus 2-70) and 294 (Keacy Carty 65, Mikyle Louis 33, Kieran Powell 31, Justin Greaves 27, Jewel Andrew 26, Jahmar Hamilton 23, Oshane Thomas 21, Colin Archibald 20; Kavem Hodge 3-60, Gilon Tyson 3-91, Shamar Springer 2-32, Darel Cyrus 2-84).

Windward Islands Volcanoes 179 (Johann Jeremiah 41, Shamar Springer 33, Kavem Hodge 29, Stephan Pascal 25; Daniel Doram 16-5-34-6, Hayden Walsh Jr 3-21) and 112-1(Stephan Pascal 60 not out, Johann Jeremiah 23 not out).

Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, who started the round in fourth position on 72.8 points, wrapped up a convincing innings and 125-run win over Jamaica Scorpions, but are unlikely to upstage any of the top three in the race for the title.

Bryan Charles finished with 13 wickets in the match as the Trinidad & Tobago Red Force ended their 2024 West Indies Championship season with an innings and 125 run thrashing of the Jamaica Scorpions on day three at Sabina Park.

The Scorpions entered Friday 159-9 in their first innings, trailing the Red Force by 273 runs. The final pair of Jeavor Royal and Andrae Dennis further 30 before being bowled out in the 64th over of the innings.

The Red Force then asked the hosts to follow on before dismissing them for 118 in just 44.4 overs to complete a dominant win.

Opener Javaughn Buchanan was the only Scorpions batsman to offer any kind of resistance with a 95-ball 33 as Bryan Charles was, once again, the pick of the Red Force bowling, ripping through the Jamaican batting on his way to figures of 7-43 from 13.4 overs to finish with a match haul of 13-125.

Debutant Navin Bidaisee took 2-20 from six overs in support.

Full Scores: Trinidad & Tobago Red Force 432 all out in 122 overs (Joshua Da Silva 106, Terrance Hinds 79, Amir Jangoo 51, Kjorn Ottley 45, Khary Pierre 43, Jeavor Royal 3-113, Ojay Shields 2-61, Peat Salmon 2-83)

Jamaica Scorpions 189 all out in 63.4 overs (Kirk McKenzie 57, Jeavor Royal 46, Bryan Charles 6-82, Khary Pierre 3-57) & 118 all out in 44.4 overs (Javaughn Buchanan 33, Bryan Charles 7-43, Navin Bidaisee 2-20).

 

 

England trio Zak Crawley, Joe Root and Harry Brook were all out for single-figure scores as bowlers across the Vitality County Championship had more success following the return of the Dukes ball.

The trial of the Kookaburra ball, which has a flatter seam than its Dukes counterpart and tends to go softer earlier, in the opening two rounds has proved divisive and led to much higher scores than expected in the early season.

Warwickshire captain Alex Davies’ fantastic 149 underpinned his side’s 340 for four in their Division One clash against Hampshire at the Utilita Bowl – but the opener was the only batter in the country to reach three figures on Friday.

Crawley edged to third slip for five in his first appearance of the season for Kent, who ended a rain-affected opening day on 111 for three after 39 overs against defending champions Surrey at Canterbury.

Daniel Bell-Drummond registered 70 before he was trapped in front by Tom Lawes and Daniel Worrall accounted for Crawley and fellow opener Ben Compton.

Four wickets for Shane Snater and three for England hopeful Sam Cook helped Essex skittle Lancashire for 146 at Chelmsford, where the hosts went to stumps on 68 for one with just 54 overs possible.

England off-spinner Shoaib Bashir snared the in-form Joe Clarke as Nottinghamshire were all out for 193 against Somerset at Taunton.

Craig Overton was the pick of the attack with three for 57 before a classy 70 not out from Sean Dickson led Somerset to 116 for one at the close.

Durham’s Ollie Robinson thrashed six fours and three sixes in a belligerent 55 off 43 balls but his side were all out for 244 against Worcestershire in a clash between the two promoted sides at Kidderminster.

Former West Indies captain Jason Holder took three wickets for Worcestershire, who reached 78 for four in reply.

In Division Two, Yorkshire were dismissed for 159 by Middlesex at Lord’s, where Root steered to gully for five while Brook made just three before nicking to second slip.

Middlesex slipped to 37 for two in reply but Mark Stoneman’s unbeaten 38 and Leus du Plooy’s 23 not out led the hosts to 84 without further loss, with 55.4 overs bowled in the day.

Half-centuries for Ben Charlesworth (62), Miles Hammond (56) and James Bracey (69) ushered Gloucestershire to 319 for eight against Sussex at Hove. Danny Lamb took three for 49 for the hosts.

Colin Ingram’s 69 not out rescued Glamorgan from 27 for four against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road. Ben Sanderson’s third wicket left the Welsh side on 96 for five but Ingram’s efforts and 50 from Dan Douthwaite helped them close on 203 for seven after 56.1 overs.

Leicestershire opener Marcus Harris’ unbeaten 77 got his side to 168 for two after 46 overs against Derbyshire at Derby.

West Indies fast bowling legend Courtney Walsh has joined Zimbabwe’s women’s team as a coaching consultant, as they prepare to challenge for a spot at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh later this year.

The Jamaican, who led West Indies women’s to the semi-finals of the 2022 ICC Women's World Cup in New Zealand, where they lost to eventual winners Australia, will now aim to rewrite the history books by assisting Zimbabwe to a maiden World Cup appearance.

The Lady Chevrons are targeting one of two spots from the Women's T20 World Cup qualifiers, which begins in the United Arab Emirates on April 25.

Walsh, 61, who took 519 Test wickets in his stellar career, is assisting head coach Walter Chawaguta ahead of the tournament, and Givemore Makoni, managing director of Zimbabwe’s Cricket is delighted to have the legendary pacer on board.

"We count ourselves fortunate and privileged to be able to bring in Courtney as a technical consultant for our campaign in Abu Dhabi," Makoni said.

"He is one of the world's greatest cricketers and we believe his experience at the highest level of the women's game in particular will boost our chances,” he added.

A total of 10 teams will participate in the qualifiers in the UAE, which culminates on May 7.

The sides will be split into two groups of five, with the top two progressing to the semi-finals, from where the two finalists will secure berths to the Women's T20 World Cup in Bangladesh later this year.

Walsh and his Zimbabwe outfit will face the hosts, Ireland, the Netherlands and Vanuatu in Group B, while Sri Lanka, Thailand, Scotland, Uganda and United States, are set to lock horns in Group A.

Zimbabwe women won the gold medal at the African Games in Ghana last month, beating South Africa in a super over.

A destructive spell of spin bowling by Bryan Charles ensured Trinidad and Tobago Red Force maintained a strangle hold on their final round West Indies Championship encounter against Jamaica Scorpions at Sabina Park on Thursday.

Charles snared six wickets for 75 runs in 23.1 overs, including four maidens, as he proved most destructive for the Red Force, who pegged the Scorpions against the ropes at 159-9, after the vistors earlier ended their first innings at a daunting 432.

Jeavor Royal, on 33, and Andrae Dennis, yet to score, will resume batting for the Scorpions, who are 273 runs behind heading into Friday’s third day.

Scores: Trinidad and Tobago Red Force 432 all out (Joshua Da Silva 106, Terrance Hinds 79, Amir Jangoo 51, Kjorn Ottley 45, Khary Pierre 43, Navin Bidaisee 31; Jeavor Royal 3-113, Ojay Shields 2-61, Peat Salmon 2-83).

Jamaica Scorpions 159-9 (Kirk McKenzie 57, Jeavor Royal 33 not out; Bryan Charles 6-75, Khary Pierre 2-46).

Earlier, Red Force resuming on 308-7, added another 124 runs to their overnight total, thanks to Terrance Hinds and Khary Pierre, who put together 91 for the eighth wicket. Hinds, added 58 runs to his overnight score of 21, in a just over two-hour 118-ball knock that included seven fours and five sixes.

Pierre, who resumed on one, had two fours and two sixes in his 99-ball 43, as the Red Force lower order built on the momentum left by captain Joshua Da Silva, who initially revived the innings with a well-played century.

Royal was the most successful Scorpions bowler with 3-113 from 37 overs, while pacer Ojay Shields and off-spinner Peat Salmon took two wickets apiece.

If the Scorpions were frustrated by Red Force’s prolonged innings, then their week got a bit worse, as they failed to contend with the skill and precision of spinners Charles and Pierre.

Charles, 28, first removed opener Javaughn Buchanan (10), and later ripped through the middle order, erasing any hopes the Scorpions had of staging a fightback.

In fact, only West Indies left-handed batsman Kirk McKenzie, who topscored with a patient 153-ball 57, including two fours and two sixes, offered some resistance, before Royal became the second batsman to pass 20 runs. Pierre had 2-46 in 21 overs.

Elsewhere, at Frank Worrell Field in Trinidad and Tobago, Combined Campuses & Colleges Marooners lead Guyana Harpy Eagles by 142 with three second innings wickets intact.

Scores: Campuses & Colleges Marooners 200 all out (Demario Richards 43, Romario Greaves 36, Avinash Mahabirsingh 23, Amari Goodridge 22, Jediah Blades 22 not out, Jarion Hoyte 21; Nial Smith 3-45, Veerasammy Permaul 3-51, Gudakesh Motie 2-40, Isai Thorne 2-45) and 165 for seven (Odaine McCatty 56, Shamarh Brooks 54 not out; Kevin Sinclair 2-29, Gudakesh Motie 2-42, Veerasammy Permaul 2-44).

Guyana Harpy Eagles 223 all out (Raymond Perez 62, Tevin Imlach 55, Kevin Sinclair 37, Kevlon Anderson 27; Avinash Mahabirsingh 17.4-2-51-8).

At the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua, Barbados Pride lead Cricket West Indies Academy by 21 with seven second innings wickets in hand.

Scores: Barbados Pride 155 all out (Jonathan Drakes 35, Kevin Wickham 27, Shian Brathwaite 26, Demetrius Richards 21 not out; Johann Layne 3-23, McKenny Clarke 3-26, Joshua Bishop 2-25, Ramon Simmonds 2-43) and 109 for three (Kraigg Brathwaite 49 not out, Shian Brathwaite 21; Joshua Bishop 2-11).

CWI Academy 243 all out (Ackeem Auguste 76, Carlon Tuckett-Bowen 49, Johan Layne 38, McKenny Clarke 30; Akeem Jordan 4-76, Raymon Reifer 2-32, Jair McAllister 2-40, Shaquille Cumberbatch 2-75).

Meanwhile, At Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago, Leeward Islands Hurricanes were 232 runs ahead of Windward Islands Volcanoes, with eight second innings wickets intact.

Leeward Islands Hurricanes 300 all out (Mikyle Louis 100, Jewel Andrew 68, Jeremiah Louis 43, Jahmar Hamilton 34; Ryan John 3-67, Gilon Tyson 2-33, Daren Cyrus 2-70) and 111 for two (Mikyle Louis 33, Kieran Powell 31).

Windward Islands Volcanoes 179 all out (Johann Jeremiah 41, Shamar Springer 33, Kavem Hodge 29, Stephan Pascal 25; Daniel Doram 16-5-34-6, Hayden Walsh Jr 3-21).

England captain Heather Knight insists counties feeling upset by their failure to land a new ‘tier one’ women’s team represents “progress” for the female game, while the England and Wales Cricket Board have made it clear a disappointed Yorkshire have not been “punished for past sins”.

The move away from the current regional setup to a fully professionalised top flight from 2025, aligning with first-class counties in the process, is a major step forward for women’s cricket but not everyone has made the initial cut.

Durham, Essex, Hampshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Somerset, Surrey and Warwickshire were all successful, but eight other proposals were not. Yorkshire have been approved alongside Glamorgan to be elevated in 2027 and a further expansion to 12 teams is planned.

Yet that delay represents the latest setback for a proud cricketing county after several years mired by the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal and financial pressures which saw them reappoint the divisive Colin Graves as chair earlier this year.

However, ECB chief executive Richard Gould made it clear there was no sense of re-litigating those issues in a process that was focused entirely on elevating women’s cricket to fresh heights.

“It’s certainly not (about) being punished for past sins, that’s not our role. Our role is to promote the game, not punish,” he said at the launch of a new national tape ball competition, aimed at further broadening the sport’s appeal.

“It will be disappointing for those venues that either haven’t been selected for tier one at this point or who have been, but perhaps not quite as quickly as they expected.

“There will be individual circumstances but I don’t think anybody should see this as anything other than a positive for the women’s game – we’ve had 16 counties bidding so strongly to host professional women’s cricket.

“We were so relieved by the amount of focus, attention and frankly, love, that was being put into the women’s game in those bids.”

Knight, meanwhile, sees the intensity of the bidding process – and the level of frustration at those who were not approved – as a positive sign given a a relative lack of enthusiasm for female teams earlier in her career.

“It sounds like there’s some counties disappointed which is a shame but also pretty cool,” she said.

“When I was playing a long time ago, a lot of counties weren’t interested. So that disappointment is a sign of the progress that has been made.

“The regional structure has been super successful in professionalising the game and this is the next logical step.

“It has been a problem with regions, mine (Western Storm) has three different counties, and sometimes you feel you don’t have a home or a bit all over the place with facilities, not getting the same equal access as the guys do. Hopefully that will change with this coming in and counties will be accountable. That’s the whole idea: one club, two teams.”

Yorkshire, who have hosted the Northern Diamonds and can now expect their top players to head elsewhere in search of the best – and best-paid – cricket opportunities, had earlier tabled their own statement.

“Yorkshire County Cricket Club are surprised and disappointed not to be awarded one of the initial Tier 1 women’s teams,” it read.

“The news is especially frustrating and upsetting for the players and staff at the Northern Diamonds. Our focus is on supporting them through this difficult period and gaining as much clarity on what the future looks like.”

Simon Phillip, speaking as chair of a Kent side who have hosted the South East Stars in recent seasons, was similarly aggrieved.

“As the most successful county team in the history of Women’s Cricket, offering the only dedicated women’s performance centre at Beckenham and based in a highly diverse south-east London population of 1.2 million people, the decision is difficult to swallow,” he said.

“Whilst this decision will take some getting over, we remain committed to women’s and girls’ cricket and are determined to not let it hamper our long-term ambitions.”

Leicestershire were also vocal about their feelings on missing the boat, claiming “a missed opportunity by the ECB” and saying the club was “crestfallen” not be included.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) vice president Azim Bassarath has declared his intentions to join the effort to possibly coerce spinner Sunil Narine to come out of international retirement for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup to be hosted in the Caribbean and United States.

Bassarath's declaration follows that of West Indies T20 captain Rovman Powell, who has led the charge of trying to get Narine back to the regional setup ahead of the June 1-29 global showpiece.

Narine, 35, confirmed his retirement from the international game last November. However, after a stellar 56-ball 109 for Kolkota Knight Riders (KKR) against Rajasthan Royals in an IPL tie on April 16, Powell said he’s been trying to coax Narine to rejoin the squad for the past year “but he’s blocked out everyone.”

At the same time, the Jamaican revealed that he sought the assistance of Nicholas Pooran and retired international stars Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo to convince their compatriot to return. Former maroon fast bowler Tony Gray also believes Narine would be a welcomed addition to Darren Sammy's side to challenge for a third T20 World Cup title.

West Indies won the 2012 and 2016 editions of the tournament.

After KKR's IPL win against the Lucknow Super Giants on April 14, Narine when asked about the possibility of returning to the West Indies team by former West Indies teammate Samuel Badree, pointed out that “I will be watching from home, Badree.”

However, Narine in another interview on Tuesday, appeared to soften his stance about making the proverbial U-turn, when he said, “It is what it is, but we'll have to see what the future holds.”

Bassarath explained that he has tried unsuccessfully to make contact with Narine, but he intends to keep at it.

“I haven’t spoken to him [Narine], and he hasn’t spoken to me. Everybody is asking for him to change his mind and come represent West Indies, at least for this last chance. It is my intention to give him a shout, and if I have to beg him to come back and make himself available to play in this tournament. Because this is what the people need," he said in a T&T Newsday article.

Bassarath, the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) president Bassarath also revealed that he reached out to Queen’s Park Cricket Club president Nigel Camacho – Narine’s domestic club – for help.

“I have also spoken to the QPCC president, and he indicated to me that he will also reach out to Sunil to see if he can change his mind to come on board," he shared.

West Indies are set to open their T20 World Cup campaign against Papa New Guinea in Guyana, on June 2.  Afghanistan, New Zealand, and Uganda are the other teams in the group.

Organizers have confirmed that Trinidad and Tobago will host the third staging of the Women's Caribbean Premier League when the tournament bowls off in August.

The inaugural tournament in 2022 was played in St Kitts and Nevis, while last year's showpiece was played in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. This year's edition scheduled for August 21-29, will see Guyana Amazon Warriors, Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) and reigning champions Barbados Royals battling for top spot, at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy (BLCA) in Tarouba.

“We would like to thank Trinidad and Tobago for agreeing to host this tournament and we are excited to be having the Massy WCPL taking place before we get the men’s tournament underway,” said CPL chief executive, Pete Russell.

“The commitment that the Trinidad & Tobago government has shown to women’s sport has been phenomenal and we are looking forward to another superb exhibition of world class cricket over these seven matches from 21 to 29 August," he added.

The three teams will clash in six group games, with the top two teams featuring in the final.

Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago's Minister of Sport and Community Development, Shamfa Cudjoe-Lewis, expressed joy that the twin island republic will be host to the women's tournament, which will for the first time be contested before the men's edition.

"We are delighted to host once again the Massy Women's CPL, where the extraordinary talent of women in sport from across the region will be showcased. This tournament highlights the incredible skills of our female cricketers and underscores Trinidad and Tobago's unwavering commitment to promoting gender equality and fostering inclusivity in sport," she said.

"The Ministry of Sport and Community Development takes pride in spearheading the advancement of women's cricket and sport tourism in TT and we look forward to welcoming players and fans alike to our shores for an electrifying display of cricketing excellence," Cudjoe-Lewis noted.

West Indies Women's captain Hayley Matthews delivered a stellar all-round performance to lead her team to a commanding 113-run victory over Pakistan Women in the first One Day International (ODI) at the National Stadium in Karachi on Thursday.

Matthews played a pivotal role in setting up the win, first with the bat and then with the ball. She showcased her batting prowess by scoring an impressive unbeaten 140 runs, anchoring the West Indies' innings to a challenging total of 269-8 in their allotted 50 overs. Matthews' innings was decorated with 15 boundaries (fours) and a well-struck six.

After losing an early wicket, Matthews combined forces with Shemaine Campbell to forge a crucial partnership of 102 runs for the second wicket. Campbell contributed a valuable 45 runs to the cause before departing.

Chinelle Henry (23) and contributions from Chedean Nation and Aaliyah Henry, who scored 17 each, further solidified the West Indies' innings as Matthews led from the front, steering her team to a formidable total.

In response, Pakistan Women struggled to build partnerships against the disciplined West Indies bowling attack. Tuba Hassan top-scored with 25 runs, while Muneeba Ali and Nahida Alvi made contributions of 22 and 20 runs, respectively.

However, it was Matthews who turned the game decisively in her team's favor with the ball, claiming three crucial wickets for just 17 runs. Afy Fletcher and Zaida James also made significant contributions with the ball, picking up two wickets each to bundle out Pakistan Women for 156 runs in 35.5 overs.

Sadia Iqbal (2-38) and Tuba Hassan (2-48) were the standout bowlers for Pakistan, but they couldn't contain Matthews' brilliance.

With this commanding victory, West Indies Women have taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match ODI series against Pakistan Women, setting the stage for an exciting contest in the upcoming matches.

 

Yorkshire have been left “surprised and disappointed” after being overlooked by the England and Wales Cricket Board in the initial ‘tier one’ revamp of the women’s game.

The governing body has awarded new professional teams to eight first-class counties, replacing the regional structure from next summer, but Yorkshire were edged out in what was effectively a head-to-head with Durham.

Both Yorkshire and Glamorgan have been invited to join an expanded top flight in 2027, with funding to help prepare their coaching pathways, but the news has been met with an unhappy response from Headingley on the eve of the new women’s domestic campaign.

The Northern Diamonds won the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy in 2022 and finished as runners-up in the previous two seasons.

A statement from the club’s board read: “Yorkshire County Cricket Club are surprised and disappointed not to be awarded one of the initial Tier 1 women’s teams as part of the first allocations from the ECB.

“The news is especially frustrating and upsetting for the players and staff at the Northern Diamonds. They have been trying to deal with it whilst preparing for their first game of the season in two days. Our focus is on supporting them through this difficult period and gaining as much clarity on what the future looks like.

“Yorkshire has the largest active playing base of women and girls in the country, has produced many players that have gone on to represent England in the women’s game, winning the County Championship 16 times and Headingley has been successfully hosting the Northern Diamonds since 2020, so naturally the news has been tough to take.”

The White Rose has endured a turbulent time in recent years, embattled by the Azeem Rafiq racism crisis and fighting major financial troubles leading to the controversial return of Colin Graves as chair.

But there has been a renewed commitment to equality of opportunity at the club against that troubled backdrop, work which the board were keen to highlight.

“Yorkshire has a rich ethnicity mix and as part of our ongoing work to be the most welcoming and inclusive cricket club in the country, we use women’s and girl’s cricket as the cornerstone to creating real, tangible value in those communities that need it the most,” it said.

“We believe we hit all of the criteria set out as part of the tender, so we will be taking time to investigate and understand the detail behind the decision, assessing the best next steps for the club and most importantly ensuring we support the players and staff that are impacted.”

 A fifth first class century by captain Joshua Da Silva rescued Trinidad and Tobago Red Force from an ominous position, and into the ascendancy in their final round West Indies Championship encounter against Jamaica Scorpions at Sabina Park.

Da Silva’s 106 off 140 ball, took Red Force from 96-4 to 308-7 at close of Wednesday’s first day. The wicketkeeper/batsman struck 15 fours and one six in his knock, as he shared in an 80-run fifth-wicket stand with Amir Jangoo, who continued his rich vein of form with a 90-ball 51 off.

Terrance Hinds, unbeaten on 21, and Khary Pierre, on one, will resume batting for Red Force on Thursday.

Spinners Peat Salmon (2-68) and Jeavor Royal (2-76) have taken most wickets so far for the Scorpions.

Scores: Trinidad & Tobago Red Force 308-7 (Joshua Da Silva 106, Amir Jangoo 51, Kjorn Ottley 45, Navin Bidaisee 31; Pete Salmon 2-68)

After being asked to take first strike, Red Force lost Cephas Cooper (12) early, but a 52-run second-wicket partnership between Kjorn Ottley (45) and Jyd Goolie (19), steadied the innings at 81-1, before Salmon and Royal grabbed three quick wickets for 15 runs.

That brought Da Silva and Jangoo together and the two steadied the Red Force innings from 96-4. Jangoo stroked seven boundaries and a six, before he was removed by Ojay Shields.

Still, Da Silva pushed on, adding another 92 runs in a sixth-wicket stand with Navin Bidaisee (31), but eventually went to Royal, after adding 36 for the seventh wicket with Hinds.

Elsewhere, at Frank Memorial Ground in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana Harpy Eagles trail Combined Campuses and Colleges by 86 runs with nine first innings wickets intact.

Scores: Combined Campuses & Colleges Marooners 200 (Demario Richards 43, Romario Greaves 36, Avinash Mahabirsingh 23; Nial Smith 3-45, Veerasammy Permaul 3-51)

Guyana Harpy Eagles 114-1 (Raymond Perez 61 not out, Kevlon Anderson 27 not out)

In Antigua, at Coolidge Cricket Ground, West Indies Academy trail Barbados Pride by 44 runs with six first innings wickets intact.

Scores: Barbados Pride 155 (Jonathan Drakes 35, Kevin Wickham 27, Shian Brathwaite 26; Johann Layne 3-23, McKenny Clarke 3-26)

West Indies Academy 111 for four (Ackeem Auguste 67 not out; Akeem Jordan 2-37)

Meanwhile, at Queen’s Park Oval, Windward Islands Volcanoes trail Leeward Islands Hurricanes by 294 runs with nine first innings wickets intact.

Scores: Leeward Islands Hurricanes 300 (Mikyle Louis 100, Jewel Andrew 68, Jeremiah Louis 43; Ryan John 3-67, Gilon Tyson 2-33, Daren Cyrus 2-70)

Windward Islands Volcanoes 6-1

England bowler Jofra Archer admits he may not be able to cope with any fresh injury problems, revealing “I don’t know if I have another stop-start year in me”.

Archer has been plagued by a litany of fitness problems since bursting on to the international scene in 2019 but is on the comeback trail with hopes of featuring in June’s T20 World Cup in the United States of America and his native Caribbean.

The seamer is not yet certain if he will make the tournament, having last played competitively 11 months ago following a repeat stress fracture in his right elbow, but insists avoiding further setbacks is crucial.

The mental and physical toll has been considerable on Archer and he accepts another breakdown could be one too far.

“It’s been a while and honestly, I don’t know if I’ve got another stop-start year in me. That’s the truth, I don’t know if I’ve got another one,” he told the 4Cast’s Athlete’s Voice podcast.

“I haven’t played cricket for a whole 12 months as yet. Last year I played from January to May. I think the year before that, I played maybe one or two games for Sussex, so you know I’ve had a whole year of nothing.”

England are taking a cautious approach with his latest return, taking an early decision to withdraw him from the Indian Premier League and pre-emptively ruling him out of the rigours of Test cricket until next year.

Instead they hope to unleash him in familiar territory in the West Indies, where they will look to defend their 20-over crown.

He shares that ambition but is refusing to count on it.

“Come the first game in June I really do want to be in the team. The last two years have been really stop-start, so I just think that, you know, everyone’s going to just take it a bit easy,” he said.

“If I’m ready then fine, happy days, but if I’m not they’re still supporting me. Worst-case scenario, I don’t really want to think about this, but even if I don’t make it to the World Cup for whatever reason, there’s still the T20 Blast, there’s still The Hundred.

“There’s still cricket that I haven’t got a chance to play in the last couple of years, so as much as I want to play in the World Cup, if it doesn’t happen for whatever reason, at least I still know I could be somewhat active.”

And if Archer does manage to pull an England shirt back on during their visit to his home island of Barbados, he is expecting to see some friendly faces in the crowd.

“I know it’s not dog friendly in the Caribbean as much as it is here in the UK, but I’d love my family and my dogs at that first game back,” he added.

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