The UWI-UNICOM T20 will take on an international flavour this season with three regional teams being invited to take part.
Defending champions Queen’s Park Cricket Club will be back to defend their title and will be vying with two teams from Guyana — Georgetown All Stars and Demerara Cricket Club, one from Barbados — Barbados Invitational, as well as some of the top clubs in Trinidad and Tobago for the coveted trophy and the $40,000 first prize purse.
The teams that will take part in the eighth edition of the competition were unveiled during the launch of the tournament at UWI SPEC in St Augustine yesterday when the draw for the groups took place.
The Parkites were drawn in Group A along with Marchin Patriots Invitational and hosts UWI, while Georgetown will battle alongside Tobago Marlins and Preysal Sports in Group B.
The runners-up will pocket $15,000, while the losing semi-finalists will get $4,000 each.
Group D will also have some interest with Southern rivals PowerGen Sports and First Citizens Clarke Road United drawn together with Defence Force. Meanwhile, Barbados Invitational, Demerara and East Zone were all drawn in Group D.
All matches will be played at the Sir Frank Worrell Cricket Ground at UWI SPEC in St Augustine.
At the recent launch, former West Indies Test cricketer Bryan Davis noted that it was the Caribbean flair that breathed new life into cricket when Frank Worrell was appointed captain and led the team to Australia when they had the famous tied Test.
Grand send off
The men from the West Indies lost that 1960-61 series 2-1 but was given a grand send off.
Davis spoke about the “uniqueness” of being West Indian, which he said manifested on the cricket field with “aggression, elegance and charm”.
Davis recalled that when Worrell was asked what kind of cricket they were going to play, he said: “We are going to play our natural game.”
Meanwhile, former West Indies wicketkeeper and Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board president Deryck Murray was also on hand and said the UWI T20 is now fully entrenched in the domestic cricket season and often sets the tempo for the local cricket calendar.
Murray also underscored the importance of balancing education and sports and praised UWI for the work they have done in that regard.
He said education plays an important role in cricket development and that “an educated cricketer is a better cricketer”.
The UWI T20 bowls off on January 9 with Group A action. Three matches will be played in the day starting at 9 a.m. and the top two teams will advance to the quarter-finals.
Group B will be played on January 10, Group C on January 11 and Group D on January 12.
The quarter-finals will be played as double-headers on January 14 and 15 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., while the semis will take place in January 17 and 18 from 6pm each day.
The final takes place on January 19, also from 6 p.m.