Cheers for Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket
ROSEAU, Dominica – You could hear the cheers from miles away.
The cheers of the crowd at Windsor Park as the West Indies beat Zimbabwe in the third Test match.
Among those cheering for the home team were scores of bright-eyed, enthusiastic children who were chosen from the Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket programme in Dominica – the Nature Isle of the Caribbean.
They all came out to celebrate the big win and the series clean sweep as hometown hero Shane Shillingford bamboozled Zimbabwe and the West Indies won in grand style.
Smartly attired in their brand new, specially designed “whites”, which were supplied by Scotiabank and the West Indies Cricket Board, the aspiring young players also got the chance to go onto the outfield to display their talent and cricket skills, much to the delight of the more than 7,000 fans in the stands.
They were accompanied by Chirpy – the fun-loving, larger-than-life mascot – who was lively and cheerful and also showed some skills with the bat.
Robert Haynes, the former Jamaica and West Indies allrounder, was on hand at Windsor Park to see the children in action and was pleased with what he saw.
Haynes has worked for several years coaching at all levels in Jamaica, including the Jamaica Under-19 and senior teams. He is presently a member of the WICB Selection Committee.
“It is remarkable to see boys and girls of this age bowling, batting, fielding and playing the game of cricket with such passion and diligence. If we continue in this direction by setting strong foundations through the Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket programme, we have done our jobs in equipping our children with the prerequisites to easily progress to the next stage of their cricketing development and securing a bright competitive future for West Indies Cricket,” Haynes told WICB Media.
“As a former player and one of the WICB selectors, we look for key technical components at all levels of a player’s cricketing ability. Coming out of the interval display in Dominica where I was present, it is only obvious that the programme has been making strides in the right direction to equip our children, and more so institute the positive attitudes needed to promote a love for the game.”
Jim Alston, Scotiabank’s Country Head for the island of Dominica, was also hugely impressed with what he saw from the young cricketers.
“Scotiabank believes in the power of possibilities and giving back to our local communities, and this is why we are committed to this programme in the territories in the Caribbean, especially in Dominica. Through our partnership with the West Indies Cricket Board we have been able to expand the scope of the programme by increasing coaching resources and equipment in primary schools across the country,” he said.
“In addition to providing resources, we are also proud that we are able to give our children in Dominica positive and life-lasting experiences by them participating in the annual Kiddy Cricket lunch interval display, allowing them to share the spotlight with their West Indies heroes, such as Dominica’s very own Shane Shillingford.”
Alston added: “Through our support in cricket we are empowering our Caribbean children with self-confidence and self discipline, in hopes that their dreams can be realized.”
The boys and girls were taken from the top eight schools in the Dominica leg of the Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket Festival. The schools were: Mahaut Primay, St Luke’s Primary, Warner Primay, Salisbury Primary, Penville Primary, Ville Case Primary, Woodford Hill Primary and Bense Primary.
The Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket Programme encourages and promotes the development of well-rounded Caribbean youths, providing cricket resources and facilitating learning through the provision of academic aids.
The programme runs in 15 territories across the West Indies with 700 primary schools involved and over 150,000 children between ages six and 11.
Several regional and international cricketers have benefited from this initiative, including West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach.