By Neto Baptiste
The best school cricketers must play for Combined Schools with no exception.
This is the view of former cricketer, Mark Bowers, who believes it’s the only way to improve the standard of cricket being played by Combined Schools in the cricket association’s league.
“Clearly, the problem is that the best players are not playing for Combined Schools and I believe that if you are a school boy then you ought to represent your school and if there is a combined schools thing and these are school boys then they ought to play for Combined Schools. Over the years there has been a dumbing down of Combined Schools and I do not believe that we have a structural problem other than people need to go and scout and get the best youngsters to represent Combined Schools,” he said.
The former opening batsman was, at the time, rejecting the notion that the Combined Schools team which is under the auspices of the Ministry of Sports, should be scrapped given their consistently poor performance in the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) competitions.
Bowers suggested that getting rid of the initiative will put many young players at a disadvantage.
“Richie Richardson came through it and he made a lot of runs. We had special talent here and there and they had time every afternoon from the coaches, especially Guy Yearwood. I can speak of where he just did everything with all of these players; the convergence of players from right across the island to East Bus Station; scrapping Combined Schools is not the answer,” he said.
Also advocating against the notion of scrapping the initiative was president and coach of the Jennings cricket club, Glen Miller, who opined that the real issue lies at the top where those in the ministry must seek to revamp and restructure the programme.
“If you guys say to me that Combined Schools need some more attention in terms of structure from the ministry, then I am in full agreement and I would never even call in and say anything. Let us not look past the work of Shafto [Pernel Watley] because it is a breeding ground for other clubs,” he said.
Blackhawks amassed a massive 675 declared against the Massy United Insurance sponsored Combined Schools in the ABCA Two Day over the weekend. Schools were bowled out for 46 in their first innings and then for 80 in the second to hand a dominant Blackhawks the massive triumph.