By RON FANFAIR
West Indies cricketer, Sewnarine Chattergoon, had a lot to smile about last weekend.
His Guyanese team clinched the Guyana Independence Festival 15-overs championship trophy match last Sunday, just hours after he was selected to lead the West Indies “A” team against Bangladesh in an official first-class match at Kensington Oval in Barbados July 3-5.
Guyana brushed aside a Scarborough Cricket Association XI by 37 runs at L’Amoreaux Park in Scarborough to avenge the four-wicket loss they suffered in last year’s final of the quadrangular series that also involved Toronto & District Cricket Association and Etobicoke teams.
“Despite the obstacles, we came here with a plan to win the title and erase the memory of last year’s loss,” said the diminutive Chattergoon. “The guys were focused and I am happy we got the result we wanted.”
Several Guyanese players were granted their visas 24 hours before they traveled to Toronto last Friday and the tournament was played on a wet outfield after last Saturday’s torrential rainfall.
“The conditions were not that good, but, then again, it was the same for the rest of the teams,” said the 28-year-old left-handed batsman who played with his brothers, Hemnarine and Ramnarine, for Vikings in the TDCA league for three seasons, up until 2008.
Inspired by a superb all-round performance by Royston Crandon – who took 5-18 off three overs and compiled a game-high of 30 – Guyana defeated the TDCA side, which scored 103 in its allotted 15 overs, by six wickets and advanced to the final.
Scarborough, led by Vishnu Arjune who hit 31, beat Etobicoke by four wickets to qualify for the final.
Promising left-handed middle-order batsman Leon Johnson – who made his first-class debut for Guyana at age 16 in 2004 and his West Indies debut in Canada last year in the triangular ODI series that also involved Bermuda – belted a six and three boundaries in his innings of 47, to help his team reach a challenging total of 111-4.
Scarborough was restricted to 74-7 in reply.
While delighted with the victory and his appointment as the West Indies “A” team captain, Chattergoon said his main goal is to regain his place in the West Indies senior side.
He made a successful Test debut last year in the second and final contest against Sri Lanka on his 27th birthday, scoring a composed 46 off 78 balls. Injuries and a lack of runs during the 2008-09 New Zealand tour have limited his appearances to four Tests and 18 One-Day Internationals.
“I am fine physically, but I have to start making runs on a consistent basis if I want to hold on to my place in the senior team,” says Chattergoon. “Hopefully, I can attract the attention of the selectors with a good showing against Bangladesh. This is a great opportunity for me – to be given the captaincy – and I intend to seize it by leading from the front which also means that I have to make runs.”
Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo, Director of Sport, Neil Kumar and city councilor and Toronto Transit Commission chair, Adam Giambrone, attended the tournament which is part of the festivities celebrating Guyana’s independence.