Western Jamaica deserves big-time cricket, says Service

Jamaica Gleaner article.

WESTERN BUREAU: West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) territorial development officer and councillor for the Martha Brae division in the Trelawny Parish Council, Phillip Service, is pushing for meaningful cricket to be played in western Jamaica as the number of quality venues continue to mushroom.

"There really is a great opportunity for this region to grab some important cricket matches, as there are a number of very good facilities coming on stream, matching those which we already have available," Service said.

The Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium was used for two matches between the visiting New Zealand Test team and a Jamaica XI, as tune-up for the current three Test series against the West Indies. Service believes it proves that matches involving calibre teams - whether at the international or regional level - can be brought to western Jamaica.

"What we have now in these parts and, by extension, northern and southern Jamaica, tells you that cricket should be taken here, where the support is huge.

"It is good that we have facilities such as the Trelawny Stadium, and there is a lovely little ground at Ultimate, while just over the border in St Ann, we have an excellent facility at Green Grotto, with the facility at Norando Bauxite adding to the mix," Service said.

Attracting tourism

"Tourists should be booking dates to come and watch good quality cricket here, in particular when we have touring teams here," added Service.

Jarrett Park in Montego Bay offers another opportunity. Games are played there, with the parish league offering little on-the-field action.

Football aside, the facility at St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) offers the western region an excellent venue, as they did two years ago when Jamaica welcomed the West Indies Under-15 competition, with games shared at Treasure Beach. The Manley Horne Park, also located in cricket-mad St Elizabeth, holds great prospects.

"It shows that apart from Sabina Park in Kingston, the country has a number of other interesting cricket grounds available and we should make good use of them," reasoned Service.

"We have four or so venues in relatively close proximity that can, in my view, host certain tournaments and I hope the folks in Kingston forgive me, but here (western Jamaica) is the better side of the island," Service said.

"Out here, being the tourism beltway of the island, we need to get these visitors coming to places such as the Trelawny Stadium and down by Treasure Beach to watch some good competitive cricket matches. Sabina Park will always be the mecca of Jamaican cricket, but when regional tournaments are held, I see no reason why some of the games cannot be played out here," he said.

First Published In The Jamaica Gleaner.

Sat, 06/21/2014 - 04:24