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Stakes raised for SDC Twenty/20

BY SANJAY MYERS Observer staff reporter myerss@jamaicaobserver.com
Thursday, November 17, 2011


THE Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Olivia Grange, declared that the first prize money for next year's winner of the Social Development Commission (SDC) Twenty20 (T20) Community Cricket competition will be increased to at least $1million.

The St Catherine-based Old Harbour team took the main prize of $750,000 this season after dispatching Content Gardens of St Ann in the championship match at the Alpart Sports Complex in St Elizabeth two months ago.

Waltham PYC and Racecourse finished third and fourth, respectively.

Grange beamed that the stakes will be raised when the sixth staging of the competition, which will coincide with the 'Jamaica 50 Celebrations', bowls off next year.

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"A couple of years ago, I engineered a significant increase in prize money for the competition. I went to work again. Now it's going to be $1 million for the champion team in 2012. There will be no increases in the prize money for the minor places," Grange said at last Wednesday's award presentation at the Knutsford Court Hotel.

She expressed regret that all teams reaching the semi-final stage will not be given an increase as well, but added that boosting the value of the top prize is expected to provide plenty of incentive for aspirants.

"I think where we can increase the prize money we should. I wish we could have done it for the second, the third and the fourth (placed teams). It (the increase in the winner's prize) may help the competition because... it may make the competition even more intense.

"I want to expand the competition and I hope that we can work closer with the JCA (Jamaica Cricket Association) in the future," she said.

The Minister announced that two scholarships to the GC Foster College would be awarded to students on each of the eight quarter-final teams in this year's tournament.

Added Grange: "Cricket is one of the sporting disciplines that is an important tool in community development and in social intervention. In the competition that was just concluded hundreds of people flocked the venues to see their communities in action. I would say the (SDC) Twenty20 Cricket competition has contributed a lot... I want to commend the SDC staff for a professionally-run competition."

Part of the mission of the SDC is to help communities to undertake their own development through linkages with various stakeholders, and to action steps towards achieving Vision 2030 Jamaica.

Meanwhile, in response to the call for the association to become more involved in the SDC competition, JCA president Lyndel Wright said that a partnership is on the horizon.

He added that it is possible that top SDC T20 teams will be allowed to participate in JCA-organised competitions.

"We think we should have encouragement for players who want to be champions. It gives those teams more exposure at a higher level and that would certainly help," he said.

Comma Pen of St Elizabeth, were the inaugural champions in 2006 after beating Broughton of neighbouring parish Westmoreland.

No competition was played in 2007, but upon its resumption in 2008, South Star of Manchester inflicted another final defeat on Broughton.

The St Elizabeth-based Junction defeated Content Gardens in 2009, while last year saw St Ann's Orange Hill and South Star sharing the title.

The fifth staging of the SDC-run competition, which started May this year, facilitated 372 of the island's almost 800 communities in a parish phase.

At the end of that stage in July, the number of participants was whittled down to 16 teams for the national phase.

Aside from the 14 parish champions, two teams were given wild card entries based on their superior net run rates. Ironically, the eventual 2011 champion Old Harbour was one such team.

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