G4S Masters making moves in 2014

Barbados Advocate article.

Bridgetown, Barbados - Despite dropping from 32 to 29 teams this year, the G4S Banks Beer Masters Cricket Tournament will still be bowling off at various grounds around the island this weekend. 

The competition, which has been dubbed the island’s most enjoyable cricket tournament for those past age 40, will be seeing very little structural changes this year as its current format has served well over the many years of its existence. 

With the Transport Board team, which plays in the Barbados Cricket Association’s Division 2 joining the ranks this year, three seven-team zones and one eight-team zone will be going all out in an effort to raise the challenge trophy at the end of the tournament.

During a conference at G4S’ headquarters in Brighton yesterday, member of the organising committee, Sam Wilkinson, told the media that for the first time ever, the tournament, which has a projected ending date of March 29, would have gotten through most of its first-round matches before the start of the international and first class cricket seasons. 

“The tournament goes right through January unbroken this year because we were able, through careful planning, to ensure that we had the whole of January free to play all our matches, so we will be able to complete almost all our first round matches before international and first-class cricket come back to Barbados,” he said.

Also on the cards is the prospect for expansion, as some very real interest in the tournament’s format has been shown throughout the islands over the years. This year, an initiative to get a team over to St. Lucia is in the works. 

“One of our objectives this year is to look into an expansion of the competition. We have had numerous requests over the years coming from the islands – the Windward Islands mainly. We have gone as far as Antigua and the Leeward Islands, but now we are hoping that this year at the end of the tournament, that a Masters select team will be able to participate against a St. Lucia select team and this, we think, is going to be the first step that we aim to take Masters cricket in an organised matter across the Caribbean, where hopefully we can have a regional masters competition,” Wilkinson stated.

Though in the plans for the past three years, a match between a select masters team and a junior team was forced to the back-burner. However, with January completely open for the early completion of games due to the Barbados team being in Trinidad and Tobago, the clash which would see the generations trading punches is looking very real for this year. Tentatively set for the end of the season, the organising committee is in talks with the BCA on making it happen. 

“One of the logistics is that we have to find a window for the competition and we would like to think that if it is at all practical or possible, we could do it before the finals of the tournament so that it does not come as an anti-climactic approach to the competition. 

“It would be a good opportunity for the young players in our country to associate and play against some of the more experienced players, some of whom, in our masters competition, would have played for Barbados and the West Indies and indeed would be able to share and mentor them. So that is one of the areas that we are looking to develop in the coming season as well,” Wilkinson said.

First Published In The Barbados Advocate.

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 10:03