The Ministry of Education, Sports and the Creative Industries and the Antigua and Barbuda High Commission in London, are pleased to announce the first under-19 cricket team tour of the United Kingdom from 21st July to 15th August 2023.
A squad of 16 players and 4 supporting staff led by Head of Schools Cricket, Ridley Jacobs, were selected to take part in a competitive series against youth cricket teams in England and Scotland.
The team will play 10 matches during this tour. They will play 7 One Day Internationals (ODIs) in England against Loughborough University, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the ACE Programme, Leicester County Under 18, Antigua Exchange Programme All Stars Team (comprised of the best youth players from Keyworth, Belvoir, Bingham and Grantham Cricket Clubs), Middlesex Cricket Academy and the National Cricket Conference (NCC). They will also play two ODIs against Stirling Cricket Club in Glasgow, Scotland.
The tour will end with a T20 match against the ACE Programme during the second annual English Cricket Board (ECB) supported Heritage Day.
The Heritage Day Tournament is organised by the ECB in partnership with Black and African Caribbean Communities across the UK.
This tournament aims to inspire the younger generation to connect to their roots and understand the importance of cricket within that context.
The featured match for Heritage Day 2023 is the Antigua and Barbuda Under 19 match against the ACE programme.
In addition to the matches, the team will participate in presentations about study and scholarships opportunities at Loughborough University and Stirling University.
Both universities are world renowned centres for excellence in sports. Loughborough is the hub for sports for the UK and has been consistently ranked as the world’s number one university for sport-related academics by QS Rankings.
It is also home to one of the world’s largest indoor gyms which the team will have access to during their 5 day stay at the University’s Elite Athlete Centre.
The University of Stirling, where the team will also stay for 5 days, is ranked in the top five in the world for sports facilities and campus environment.
The team will also benefit from a specially planned education and character development day hosted at Lord’s. Dr Naheed Khan, a consultant neurologist, will make an interactive presentation to the team on the real effects of recreational substances on the brain.
This will be followed by a presentation by Nick Gandon of the NCC discussing character development through cricket, coaching and playing. Team members will also experience a guided tour of Lord’s Cricket Ground and The Oval in London as well as Trent Bridge in Nottingham.
They will also receive complimentary tickets to watch The Hundred Cricket Tournament at Lord’s and to watch a county match at The Oval. They will also receive complimentary tickets to a football match.
The team will enjoy hikes and tours of historic places in England and Scotland as part of a rounded experience.
The Minister of Education, Sports and the Creative Industries, the Hon. Daryll Matthew, commented: ” I am proud to announce an exciting new initiative to encourage young people to take up cricket. This initiative demonstrates the Government’s commitment to challenging talented athletes in Antigua and Barbuda to excel in sport at the highest level. We believe that by providing opportunities for young people to participate in sports and physical activity, we can help them to grow and thrive both on and off the field. This tour will challenge them to adapt to different playing styles, cultures, and environments, which ultimately will help them grow as players and people. As a Government, we are unwavering in our drive to assist our youth, and in this instance our young men, to discover the unparalleled value of worthwhile pursuits”.
High Commissioner Karen-Mae Hill, said about the initiative: “I am thrilled to support Minister Matthew and the Ministry of Sports to realise a vision the Minister expressed a desire to fulfil since 2019. To finally see so many young Antiguan and Barbudan cricket players taking part in this UK cricket tour is a fantastic opportunity for these young men to discover new worlds of opportunities”.
The Director of Sports, Mrs Heather Samuel-Daley, also commented: “We are excited to see the positive impact that this initiative will have on our youth. We look forward to supporting them as they pursue their dreams of becoming successful athletes.”
All Antiguan and Barbudan diaspora members and other cricket enthusiasts are encouraged to watch and support the young team. This experience will be immensely beneficial and will open new opportunities for them.
The Government of Antigua and Barbuda extends thanks to its main partners Cricket Scotland, the Leicester Caribbean Cricket & Social Club, the National Cricket Conference, the Antigua Exchange Programme and the Ace Programme Charity (ACE). Special thanks to Alf Langley and Nick Gandon of the NCC, Director of the ACE Programme Chevy Green, Charlotte Spear for her assistance with logistical arrangements, Luisa Weste and James Overy of the MCC, Director of Cricket at Middlesex Alan Coleman, Jigar Naik of the Leicestershire County Cricket Club, Keith Williams of the Antigua Exchange Programme and Kenny Crichton of Cricket Scotland. A special appreciation to the family of the late Simon Prodger, Managing Director of the NCC, for his enthusiasm in supporting this tour. Simon sadly recently passed away.
Antigua and Barbuda Under 19 Team: George Elvin, Shamar Pereira, Xanden Honson, Noah James Knight, Glen Williams, Tyree Moore, Malique Jacob, Dravid Richardson, Hosea Roberts, Brent Joseph, Malinga Burney, Kyland Isaac, Anthony Pierre, Antwane Wilock, Isaiah Attwood.
Touring Staff: Ridley Jacobs (manager), Pernel Watley (Head Coach), Sylvester Joseph (Assistant Coach), Evans Jones (Physio/Trainer).