Kiddy Cricket growing in St Lucia
GROS-ISLET, St. Lucia – Apart from a brilliant hundred from Kieron Pollard, spectators got a chance to see a dynamic Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket interval display during the fourth Digicel One-Day International between West Indies and Australia on Friday at the Beausejour Cricket Ground.
Around 80 Kiddy Cricketers, among some of the best talent in the island, were decked out in their newly-designed uniforms and treated the near capacity crowd to an exciting display of their raw talent.
The young players hailed from Micoud Primary, where current West Indies captain Darren Sammy stirred his interest in the game, Anse La Raye Primary, Roblot Combined, Grande Riviere Combined, Camille Henry Memorial, Bocage Primary, Pierrot Combined and Soufriere Primary.
Keith Charlery, head Kiddy Cricket coach in St. Lucia, said the programme was making a difference, leading to the improvement in the quality of play in the domestic primary school competition.
"As a coach, it is important for us to keep the foundation level of cricket strong and always active," said Charlery.
"Over the last two years, the Kiddy Cricket Programme has grown on the island, attracting more primary school participation in new initiatives such as the Kiddy Cricket Festival, which was held in St. Lucia for the first time this year."
Charlery added: "We have also staged recreation level coaching workshops which were held for all physical education teachers and volunteers in the programme.
"Initiatives like these help to keep the base of our cricket active and encourage the proper development of not only our children, but the coaching facilitators who support the development of our youth cricketers."
Carol Henry, personal banking manager and Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket country champion, said it was great to be part of the programme, which enabled children between the ages of five and 12 to enjoy and participate in the rich legacy of the game in the region.
"Here in St. Lucia, we have success stories coming out of the Kiddy Cricket Programme such as Dalton Polius, who has progressed to represent the West Indies Under-19 and also the Windward Islands teams, along with Tara Louis who is one of St. Lucia's bright budding female cricketer stars heading for great success," he said.
"The programme provides the necessary positive outlet for our children to develop socially and academically, steering them away from the abundant negative influences which sounds us not only in the Caribbean, but throughout the World."
K.J. Singh, WICB project officer for the Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket, said the regional governing body recognised the important role the programme was playing in helping to promote and develop the sport in the Caribbean.
"The Kiddy Cricket programme is an enormous investment in the youth of the Caribbean by Scotiabank and indeed the WICB," he said.
"It's not just a programme to hone the skills of the budding players, but it also helps primary school children gain and maintain an appreciation for the game, while developing positive values and enhancing the appeal of their education."