Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

Kieron Pollard’s 32 not-out from 22 balls and 2-17 brought a man-of-the-match and 1-0 lead in a three-match T20 series over Afghanistan but the West Indies skipper refuses to sit on his laurels.

Speaking after the first T20 in the series being played in Lucknow, India, Pollard, who led from the front in a 30-run win, said that while he was happy with the performance of the team, work was still left to be done.

"It's always good to contribute but it's always better to contribute in the winning cause,” he said of his own man-of-the-match performance.

“The partnership between Lewis and Hetmyer set it up. It was not one of the easiest wickets to bat on. The balls were coming slow off the wicket. That's when you have to play smart cricket, manoeuvre the fielder,” he said.

In the field, Pollard was also happy with the West Indies, who restricted Afghanistan to just 134-9 after they were set 164 for victory.

“We were a bowler short but the boys stepped up,” he said.

Stepping up was Kesrick Williams, who ended with figures of 3-17, and Hayden Walsh Jr, who bagged 2-34.

But there are still areas the West Indies can tighten up, said Pollard who seems dead set on getting the side to be more aggressive.

“We have another game shortly, so we need to look at the areas to improve upon," said Pollard.

Before the start of the T20 series, the skipper had said he was already preparing the team to defend its T20 World Cup title.

“Winning is a habit, and anything that we want to do as a team is a process, and it's something we have to improve on over a period of time,” Pollard had said.

The United States suffered another defeat in this season’s Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup, failing to chase down a low total from the Windward Islands Hurricanes to lose by 44 runs at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba on Wednesday.

Facing the music first, the Volcanoes struggled in a start-stop innings to end on 225-9 but then turned in a workmanlike shift with the ball to dismiss the United States for 182 in 45.5 overs.

In their at-bat, the Volcanoes found themselves on the back foot with Devon Smith and Kirk Edwards going for nought and number three batsman, Emmanuel Stewart, splitting the wickets with just four to leave the side at 17-3.

At the other end of the crease, Desron Maloney put together 42 from 59 deliveries and was joined by Kaveem Hodge, who scored the same number of runs from 56 deliveries in a 55-run partnership.

Alick Athanaze also got a start for the Volcanoes, scoring 25, but failed to carry on, while Kerron Cottoy top-scored with a run-a-ball 43, while Shane Shillingford got to 31 before meeting his demise.

The starts with nobody really going on to score heavily meant a sub-par score, with Elmore Hutchinson, 2-37, Jessy Singh, 2-24, and Cameron Stevenson, 2-49, sharing the bulk of the wicket-taking work.

There was also a wicket apiece for Ian Holland (1-36) and Timil Patel (1-36).

When the US batted, they were thwarted by a five-fer from Kerron Cottoy, his 5-37, putting an end to any real challenge the visitors could have put forward. Cottoy got good support from Athinaze, whose 3-24 was invaluable to the win.  Shermon Lewis, 1-26, and Larry Edward, 1-47, were the other wicket-takers for the Volcanoes against the solo effort of Steven Taylor, who scored 62.

Lenworth Hyde, the coach of defending champions Clarendon College is still on course for being the first man to claim the ISSA/Wata daCosta Cup title on back-to-back occasions both as a player and as a coach.

Clarendon College are unbeaten this season and that did not look likely to change when they played against a trying McGrath High School in the semi-final on Wednesday at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.

Clarendon, the defending champions and favourites, ended winning 3-0 courtesy of a brace from Sheldon Smart and a beauty from Jalen Larmand.

Smart got his goals in the 47th and 69th minutes of play while Larmand would score in the 79th to seal the victory.’

Clarendon College have been known to start quickly this season but were forced to wait until the second half before they would have any joy.

According to Hyde, neither he nor his team were worried by the resistance put up by the opposition’s pluckiness, saying he knew he would be able to make a difference at half time.

“We talked in the changing room and we know that sometimes these things happen and it is how you handle it and I think we handled it well,” said the winning coach.

Situations like the one that faced Clarendon on Wednesday, Hyde explained, required a slightly different outlook on the game.

“We showed patience and we waited until our chances came. We weren’t flustered. We knew our people and we knew what the result would be,” he said.

Clarendon College will face a whole different proposition when they play against Dinthill High School in the DaCosta Cup final, but Hyde, again, isn’t too concerned.

“There isn’t much to work on ahead of the final because we were possessing the ball, we defended well because as you can see this was a clean sheet. That is how the game goes sometimes,” said Hyde.

“We can score in the first five seconds or we can score in the 93rd minute. That’s how this team is. We coach them that way, to be patient and to wait their turn,” he warned.

Dinthill joined Clarendon College in the final after a 2-1 surprise win over more highly fancied opposition in Cornwall College.

It was not long ago that Roston Chase was seen as one of a growing number of match-winning players in the West Indies ranks.

Since that time, however, Chase has suffered long dips in form and has not done much saving.

Chase, from 22 One Day Internationals averages 28.28 with the bat and has scored 396 runs but has scored just two half-centuries to date.

Against Afghanistan in a recently concluded One Day International in Lucknow, India where the visitors thumped the home team 3-0, he was immense.

Chase began with scoring 94 as the West Indies easily won the first ODI by seven wickets. Earlier he had bowled economically to end with figures of 2-31.

In the second ODI, Chase failed with the bat, only scoring nine as the West Indies only managed 247, but his 3-30 was instrumental in limiting the reply from Afghanistan to 200.

Chase was at it again on Monday,first bowling economically to end with figures of 1-24, before going on to bludgeon the bowlers, scoring 42 from just 32 deliveries to help seal the whitewash with a five-wicket victory.

Speaking after the game, Chase explained that skipper, Kieron Pollard, had reminded him to stay focused on the task ahead of him.

"Skipper told me last night we'll bat in a different position, but he said, 'Don't worry. Just concentrate on your bowling, and if you get a chance to bat, show that’.” Chase explained.

Pollard was referring to the fact that he would bat ahead of Chase in the final ODI for the first time in the series, and that he should not change what he was doing because of it.

“He [Pollard] said, 'Ros, just take over and play at a run-a-ball.' I did that, and put away the boundary balls,” Chase said of his innings.

As for his effectiveness with the ball, Chase says he has begun to understand how to change his pace to deal with different batsmen and, of course, different conditions.

“I was just trying to vary my pace, and the pitch was helping out a lot. Each game, our bowlers came to the party. This is my first series win in five years, and I'm quite happy for that."

West Indies opening batsman Shai Hope played no small part in getting the regional side their first series win in five years.

The batsman, who scored an unbeaten 77, 43, and 109 not-out, said the regional side were at pains to earn a series win and that achieving a whitewash a day after his birthday was special.

“It was a long time coming. We've been waiting for this series win for a long time, so it felt good,” said Hope.

For the series win and the eventual whitewash to come to reality, Hope explained he had to take the responsibility of batting the team into good positions.

“Someone had to put his hand up and bat through the innings,” he said.

“Felt good to be able to do it. It's just about reading the situation, and as long as someone batted through, we were always going to win the game," said Hope.

The West Indies completed a whitewash over Afghanistan with a five-wicket win in Lucknow, India.

Afghanistan, having the best game of the three-match series, scored 249-7 in their 50 overs thanks to Asghar Afghan’s 86 and Hazrafullah Zazai’s 50, Mohammad Nabi, 50, and Najibullah Zadran, 30, but found they were still outgunned after the West Indies cruised to 253-5 in 48.5 overs.

The West Indies total was anchored by Hope’s 145-ball knock. Hope reached the boundary eight times and went over it on a further three occasions and was ably supported by debutant Brandon King, who scored 39, Nicholas Pooran, 21, Kieron Pollard, 32, and Roston Chase, 42.

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard is of the belief that the regional side has venom in them and needed to show it against Afghanistan, something they achieved after a 3-0 whitewash in their One-Day International that concluded on Monday in Lucknow, India.

"We are thankful to God for giving us this opportunity,” said Pollard.

“We came here with a mission and specific roles for players, and all the players deserve credit,” he said.

“Winning is a habit, and anything that we want to do as a team is a process, and it's something we had to improve in a period of time,” said Pollard.

According to the new captain, the team took the chance to show how aggressive they could be and urged them to make that way of playing cricket, habitual.

“This was an opportunity for us to show we have that kind of venom inside us. We knew we had to rally as a team, and we proved we can bat 50 overs, and once we do that, we can win games,” he said.

The West Indies destroyed Afghanistan over a three-game ODI series, winning the first by seven wickets thanks to Shai Hope’s unbeaten 77 and Roston Chase’s 94 before claiming a series-winning 47-run victory, this time courtesy of Evin Lewis’ 54 and Nicholas Pooran’s match-saving 67.

In the final game, playing with Brandon King and Keemo Paul in the line-up, the West Indies restricted Afghanistan to 249-7 despite 50 from Hazratullah Zazai and 86 from Asghar Afghan. In reply the West Indies scored 253-5 with Chase scoring 42, King, 39, Pollard, 32, and Hope, an unbeaten 109.

Despite Hope’s knocks, Chase was named player of the series.

Houston, Texas, Edinburg, Texas, and Los Angeles, California will host the 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

The competition, to be disputed between eight teams, including 2019 FIFA World Cup Champions United States, and World Cup participants Canada and Jamaica, is scheduled to take place January 28 - February 9, 2020.

Additionally, Concacaf conducted the official draw to sort the eight participating teams into two groups of four, for the first round of the competition. The draw, which featured welcoming remarks from Concacaf General Secretary Philippe Moggio, was executed by Concacaf Head of Women’s Football Karina LeBlanc, with the assistance of two-time Olympic Gold medalist Lindsay Tarpley and Olympic Bronze medal winner Kaylyn Kyle. 

The groups for the 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament are as follows:

Group A
A1: USA
A2: Costa Rica
A3: Panama 
A4: Haiti

Group B
B1: Canada
B2: Mexico
B3: Jamaica
B4: St Kitts and Nevis

The 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament will kick off with an initial group stage between January 28 and February 4. Group A matches will take place at the BBVA Stadium, in Houston, TX on January 28, 31, and February 3. Group B matches are set for January 29, and February 1 and 4, at the HEB Park, in Edinburg, TX. 

After group stage round-robin play the top two finishers from each group will move on to the semifinals. The two semifinal matches, which will determine the two qualified teams to the Olympics, will be played on Friday, February 7, at the Dignity Health Sports Park, in Los Angeles, CA. The final match, between the semifinal winners, will also be played in Los Angeles, on Sunday, February 9. 

More information on tickets will be available in ussoccer.com in due course.

In the previous edition of the Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, hosted in Houston and Frisco, in 2016, the United States topped Canada 2-0 in the final, earning its 4th straight title.

The 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament will kick off what is set to be a year of Women’s Football at Concacaf.  In total, more than 1,400 girls and women from the entire region will have access to top level football tournaments, including the Girls’ Under-15 Championship and the Women’s Under-17 and Under-20 Championships.

2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament

Dates: January 28 - February 9, 2020

Venues: BBVA Stadium, Houston, TX (Group A matches), HEB Park, Edinburg, TX (Group B matches) and Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, CA (Semifinals and final)

Participating Teams (listed in alphabetical order): Canada, Costa Rica, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis and United States.

Competition Format: The eight participating teams have been sorted into two groups of four teams. After round-robin play, the first and second place finishers of each group will advance to the semifinals. The semifinal winners will automatically qualify for the tournament’s final, as well as the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Tokyo 2020.

Schedule
*Kick off times to be confirmed and order of the matches subject to change

Tuesday, January 28, 2020 – BBVA Stadium, Houston, TX
Costa Rica vs Panama 
USA vs Haiti

Wednesday, January 29, 2020 – HEB Park, Edinburg, TX
Mexico vs Jamaica
Canada vs Saint Kitts and Nevis

Friday, January 31, 2020 – BBVA Stadium, Houston, TX
Haiti vs Costa Rica
Panama vs USA

Saturday, February 1, 2020 – HEB Park, Edinburg, TX
Saint Kitts and Nevis vs Mexico
Jamaica vs Canada

Monday, February 3, 2020 – BBVA Stadium, Houston, TX
Panama vs Haiti
USA vs Costa Rica

Tuesday, February 4, 2020 – HEB Park, Edinburg, TX
Jamaica vs Saint Kitts and Nevis
Canada vs Mexico

Friday, February 7, 2020 – Dignity Health Sports Park, Los Angeles, CA
SF1: 1B vs 2A
SF2: 1A vs 2B

Sunday, February 9, 2020 – Dignity Health Sports Park, Los Angeles, CA
F: Winner SF1 vs Winner SF2

The Jamaica Scorpions began their 2019 Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 competition much in the same way they ended the last one, with a deplorable instance of batting that ended in defeat.

Choosing to bat, the Barbados Pride, thanks to half-centuries from Nicholas Kirton (55), and Kyle Mayers (52), as well as useful contributions from skipper Jonathan Carter (33), Tevyn Walcott (32), and Ashley Nurse (38), racked up 265 all out before bowling out the Scorpions for 190.

Pride got their runs against strong performances from Oshane Thomas, 4-52, and Andre McCarthy, 4-41

While the total for the Pride was competitive, it was certainly gettable but when McCarthy joined Aldaine Thomas at the crease with the Scorpions at 38-2, things looked interesting.

Thomas would go on to score 41 to leave the Scorpions in a better position at 81-3 but McCarthy would begin to lose partners at regular intervals after that.

Nkrumah Bonner, 5, skipper Rovman Powell, 1, Derval Green, 3, and Jamie Merchant, 3, all fell in quick succession, before McCarthy’s resistance, 95 from just 83 deliveries was broken by a Chemar Holder delivery.

McCarthy had struck six fours and five sixes before he got out, leaving Markino Mindley and Christopher Lamont to make up the deficit.

It was a bridge too far, as Lamont could only manage four while Thomas failed to trouble the scorers. Mindley was left high and dry on seven.

The Pride benefitted from the bowling of Nurse, who took 4-26, and Chemar Holder, who took 3-37, and Joshua Bishop, 2-54. There was just one wicket for Miguel Cummins, who ended with 1-18

West Indies opener Chris Gayle has quickly shrugged off the disappointment of not being able to land a place in the inaugural 100,and is still continuing to be one of the first names to be called when it comes to any new form of limited overs cricket.

Gayle is one of the names being touted as being part of the Ultimate Kricket Challenge in Dubai in February of 2020.

The event, a five-day extravaganza, will also include the likes of Andre Russell, Kevin Pietersen, Yuvraj Singh, and Shahid Afridi.

The dates have been tentatively set for February 18 to 23 in a format that includes one-on-one cricket.

The two cricketers facing off against each other will face 30 balls and can be out five times. The matches will be determined by the number of runs scored.

“I can’t wait to have a practice run. It’s a new and exciting format and its growth depends on how we start the first edition,” said Yuvraj.

“This is going to be huge,” said Kevin Pietersen on Twitter, sharing the same sentiment as Gayle.

Gayle has been the main proponent of short-form cricket, dominating the statistics as a T20 batsman, leading compatriots of huge talent.

The Universe Boss, has so far, had the most runs in T20s (13,051), the most centuries (22), the most sixes (960), most man-of-the-match awards, to go along with the highest individual score (175 not out).

The Leeward Islands Hurricanes began the 2019 Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 season on a high, beating the defending champions Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) Marooners by 198 runs on Wednesday at Warner Park in St Lucia.

The result was brought about by the batting of Devon Thomas and the bowling of Rahkeem Cornwall.

Sent into bat, Thomas began plotting the Marooner’s demise with a well-paced 105 from just 93 deliveries, helping the Hurricanes to 292-7 from 50 overs.

Thomas smacked 10 fours and one six on his way to the total, sharing in 50-run partnerships with

Other batsmen, Kieran Powell (30), Amir Jangoo (39), and Akeem Saunders (24), got starts as well, but there were no other significant contributions against the bowling of Larry Joseph, 2-26, and Jalarnie Seales, 2-71. There was also a wicket apiece for Kavesh Kantasingh (1-51) and Ojay Shields (1-47).

In reply,the Marooners, without Carlos Brathwaite, the man who led them to the title last year, were a shadow of themselves, as Cornwall with 4-20 from 5.3 overs and Sheno Berridge, with 3-20, decimated them on the way to 94 all out in 31.3 overs.

Jason Campbell, 1-27, and Jeremiah Louis, 1-8, also got among the wickets against the defending champions for whom only Seales, 39, Odain McCatty, 15, and Akeem Jordan, 11, made it into double figures.   

Sir Vivian Richards is in full support of the appointment of Kieron Pollard as white-ball captain of the West Indies, saying the veteran all-rounder brings more aggression to the role than the two men he replaced.

Pollard, who opened his account as ODI captain on Wednesday with an emphatic seven-wicket victory over Afghanistan in Lucknow, India, has had the eye of Richards for the last five years, ever since he won the CPL with the Barbados Tridents.

"I've always admired his captaincy,” said Richards, who has been one of those to have noted a tendency towards passiveness in previous West Indies sides.

Jason Holder, the West Indies Test captain and previous ODI captain, has been criticized for not being aggressive enough on occasion and going into defensive mode too quickly.

“I've always felt that when he played the first CPL T20 at home, he was the best captain,” said Richards.

“I think Barbados Tridents went on to win it [in 2014], and he was the best captain in my opinion, more proactive than the rest of the captains we would have seen,” said Richards.

 I think he's in a good place," he said.

Richards also believes Pollard will benefit from having more talent around him than did his predecessors, Holder and Carlos Brathwaite, former captain of the T20 side.

“There's enough good players around him that can help out as well,” said Richards, referring to newcomers like Brandon King and Hayden Walsh Jr.

Pollard's first course of action as ODI captain was to marshall his troops into dismissing Bangladesh for 194 in 45.2 overs, courtesy of Jason Holder, 2-21, Romario Shepherd, 2-32, Roston Chase 2-31, Sheldon Cottrell, 1-33, and Hayden Walsh Jr, 1-33, sharing the workload. The West Indies batters then made simple work of the total, getting to 197-3 three balls into the 47th over.

Roston Chase, 94, and Shai Hope, 77, were the major contributors to the innings.

St George’s College will play against Cornwall College in the quarterfinals of the ISSA Champions Cup after completing the remainder of their rain-affected game against BB Coke High School on Monday.

St George’s, one of the teams looking to become the first to claim a second lien on the title, had come from behind to lead 3-2 against BB Coke on Saturday when persistent rain ended play 10 minutes early.

The Light Blues of North Street were not in such an accommodating mood when the teams met for the final 10 minutes on Monday, banging in a further three goals to end the encounter 6-2 winners.

The Champions Cup quarterfinal draw, held at the offices of SportsMax Ltd on Monday, pulled up some other mouthwatering clashes set for Saturday.

Frome Technical will play against Kingston College, while Clarendon College have to deal with St Andrew Technical High School and in an all-urban affair, Excelsior High School do battle with Jamaica College.

The game between Frome and KC will mark the opening encounter of a double header at the Catherine Hall Sports Complex in Montego Bay, beginning at 4pm, while the second game, at 6:30, will be Cornwall and St George’s.

The other two games also form part of a double header with Clarendon College and STATHS facing off at 4pm over by Stadium East, while Excelsior and JC take centrestage at 6:30.

Naparima College are, for the third time consecutively, Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division champions.

Needing to avoid losing against the Queen’s Royal College (QRC) to hold onto the title, with Presentation College breathing down their necks just three points adrift, Naparima found four unanswered goals, making the title run seem a mere formality.

Naparima got goals from Nathaniel Perouse in the 17th minute, Shoaib Khan in the 20th, Seon Shippley in the 22nd and Isa Bramble in the 80th.

As it turns out, Naparima never needed the assurance of keeping their unbeaten streak going, as Presentation College, playing away to St Anthony’s College, could only manage a 0-0 draw in what was the only other game taking place on Monday.

That result meant Presentation, who started the day on 30 points, three points behind Naparima, ended second on 31. Naparima, ended on 36 points, eventually a comfortable buffer.

Naparima coach, Angus Eve, was very matter-of-fact about the victory, downplaying his own influence on the fortunes of the institution, saying:

“I think this is just reward for all the work they’ve been doing this season,” said Eve.

Conquered QRC coach, Nigel Grosvenor, was gracious in defeat, choosing to congratulate Naparima, saying they were deserving champions.

According to Grosevnor, the first goal of the game came at an inopportune time and put QRC on the back foot.

QRC, he said, never recovered but the credit for that must go to a well-drilled Naparima.

Jamaica’s men did not enjoy their last outing at the IAAF World Championships of Athletics in Doha, Qatar but the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) is already looking into the fixes for the situation.

Jamaica’s men weren’t just woeful individually, they were also bad as a unit.

The team didn’t even manage to make the final of the 4x100 metres in Doha, an event for which the Jamaicans hold the World Record.

“We are hoping to have a few relay camps where we will have all our relay teams competing,” said Donald Quarrie, who represented the JAAA as the team’s technical leader in Doha.

In addition, the technical director is intent on getting the teams some live action.

“Definitely the Penn Relays; we are also looking at the Mount Sac Relays and two or three meets in Europe,” said Quarrie.

One of the things that the JFF official, former Olympic and World Championship medallist, pointed out was that the JAAA needed more help than they were getting from the private sector.

“These are areas in which we will need added assistance and we can’t just rely on the Government and the JAAA spending everything they have for the athletes.”

Manning Cup champions, Kingston College, barely broke a sweat as 10-man Kingston College (KC) were easy 2-0 winners over Garvey Maceo in the feature game of the ISSA Champions Cup at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday.

KC joined the teams to be involved in the draw for the quarterfinals of the Champions Cup thanks to a Dwayne Atkinson brace but the performance, though comfortable, did not look as polished as that of Jamaica College (JC), who were 7-0 winners over debutants McGrath High.

McGrath would start well enough and did not look out of depth until a goal against the run of play, followed by a penalty knocked the wind out of their sails.

After that it was just a matter of how many JC would get and seven would not have been an underestimation.

In other games yesterday, St George’s College were leading BB Coke High School 3-2 when persistent rain brought about a postponement, while St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) were 2-1 winners over the Manning’s School.

Cornwall College had to wait until extra time to squeeze out a 1-0 win against Charlie Smith.

The results mean, Cornwall, JC, KC, and STATHS will join Clarendon College, who beat Wolmer’s Boys’ 2-0 yesterday, and Excelsior, who got by Dinthill High 4-3 on penalties, in the quarterfinals.

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