Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis (July 19, 2007)
St. Kitts and Nevis continues to set new records as the government’s sports tourism strategy scores high marks with local, regional and international administrators and officials.
The impressive cricket facilities on island led by the modern Warner Park cricket stadium have proven attractive to foreign teams wishing to compete against local squads during preseason exhibition matches or host competitive tournaments.
Exclusive of the four cricket teams and thousands of fans that came for the ICC Cricket World Cup last March, the island has hosted clubs from prestigious institutions such as the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) from Lords in the United Kingdom and staged the Leeward Islands Masters Cricket Tournament.
Sports Tourism Officer in the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture Carol Clarke told SKNIS that enthusiasts can now look forward to seeing more exciting cricket and possibly catch a glimpse of the next Brian Lara, Ian Botham or Courtney Walsh over the coming weeks as cricket clubs from two schools in the U.K. tour St. Kitts and Nevis. The island will also play host to the West Indies Under 19 Championship.
The St. Albans School cricket team arrives on the weekend for a week of exhibition matches against local high school teams.
The visiting squad of 15 to 18-year-old lads will be divided into two teams and is scheduled to play “friendlies” against schools from Cayon, Basseterre, Washington Archibald and Sandy Point High Schools. They will also play a combined team from the Charlestown Secondary and Gingerland High Schools in Nevis. They will be on island from July 21 to 27.
Also touring the twin-island Federation at the same time will be the Dr. Challoners Grammar School. The Under-15 players will spend two weeks playing local high school teams, while its Under-14 squad will go up against combined primary and high school groups. The visit runs from July 23 to August 06.
Residents may opt to watch the intense competition of the TCL (Trinidad Cement Limited) sponsored West Indies Under-19 Championship. The annual tournament will be played in round robin format from July 23 to August 18 at various cricket venues.
Ms. Clarke told SKNIS that the tournament will be contested by teams from Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana, Barbados and a combined team from the Windward Islands as well as a squad from the Leeward Islands.
Teams will earn points for wins in the three-day and one-day matches. The semi-finals begin on August 17 with the one seed (team with the most points from the earlier rounds) playing the fourth seed. The second and third seeds will also play on that day to determine which teams will continue to the August 18 finals.
Sport fans are encouraged to go out and support the events. All matches featuring the UK touring teams and the early rounds of the Under 19 games are open to the public. Persons will be asked to pay a modest fee to witness the semifinals and finals of the regional tournament.
Carol Clarke explained that sports tourism arrivals in the Federation are up significantly when compared to previous years. She added that the economy has enjoyed many positive spin-offs since the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture decided to advertise the destination and its facilities as alternative venues for foreign teams.
Other sports tourism visits scheduled for the upcoming weeks include a basketball camp which will draw more than 55 overseas persons and an Under-13 Invitational Cricket Competition.