Development Bank playing critical role in the growth of cricket in Nevis
From the DBSKN
Charlestown, Nevis – The small island of Nevis in the Leeward Islands, which is one of the two islands that make the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, made history in 1972 when it became the first island in the chain to put a cricket player on the Senior West Indies Team. The then 19-year-old Elquemedo Willett was one of the players picked to play against Australia.
Those who thought Willett’s feat was a “flash in the pan” moment for the tiny island of Nevis were proved wrong in the most eloquent way. Derick Parry made his test debut with the West Indies team in 1978. Then there was Keith Arthurton (1988), Stuart Williams (1994), Carl Tuckett (1998), (the now deceased) Runako Morton (2005), and Kieran Powell (2011).
This trend is picking up in the West Indies age group teams where a number of Nevisian players have featured on the West Indies teams in recent years. A top sports official in Nevis is saying that Nevis has the natural gift that is being utilised to the maximum through hard work on the field. He is, at the same time, praising one of the sponsors, the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, for the role it is playing in the growth of cricket on the island of Nevis.
“We are very grateful, from the Youth and Sports Department, for the sponsorship [during] the years of Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Sports Coordinator in the Youth and Sports Department of the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) Carl Tuckett. “This has gone a long way in helping the development of Nevis cricket on a whole.”
He is one person who knows better, as in 1998 he became the fifth Nevisian to play on the West Indies senior team. “From the age-group cricket right to the masters, Development Bank would have been there for us,” he said. “So, we are very grateful and thankful for Development Bank always willing and able of coming on board to help with cricket on the island of Nevis.”
Nevisians who have played on the West Indies age group teams started with Tonito Willett, son of Elquemedo Willett, who toured England with an U-19 team. Next in the line was Nelson Bolan, who was individually sponsored by the Development Bank on being picked to play on the West Indies team at the U-19 Youth Cricket World Tournament in New Zealand in January 2010.
Others are Boognarine Sharma (toured England with West Indies U-17), Kian Pemberton in 2018 for World Cup U-19 in New Zealand, and Carlon Tuckett (Carl Tuckett’s son), who has been picked for the U-15 West Indies Team tour of England in August this year.
“As for the Leeward Islands age group teams, last year alone Nevis had five for U-15, three for U-17 and four for U-19,” Tuckett said.
Apart from his active role at the Youth and Sports Department, Tuckett is also the captain of the Nevis Masters Cricket Team, which recently reclaimed the Leeward Islands Masters Tournament supremacy when eight teams assembled in Nevis last month to do battle. Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis was the premium sponsor of the Nevis Masters Cricket team. The trophy has been placed at the Development Bank’s Nevis Branch office for safe keeping.
Adding to observations made by Tuckett, Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis Manager at the Nevis Branch Hyacinth Pemberton stated that cricketers in Nevis, at all levels, go the extra mile to perfect their game. She feels that the flame ignited by Elquemedo Willett in 1972 is still keeping their spirits high.
“We at the Development Bank believe in a holistic empowerment of our people, from education, to personal development, to business and to sports,” said Pemberton. “Sponsorship of Nevisian cricket is paying handsome dividends and the best we can say as an institution is that it is a win-win situation.
”We are pleased to note that even our women are doing well in cricket. The Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis has sponsored the entire Leeward Islands Women Cricket team, and the most encouraging thing for us here in Nevis is that the vice-captain is a Nevisian, Senaldo Willett, daughter of the pioneering cricketer Elquemedo Willett.”
When the team was constituted in 2016, Nevis had five players who travelled to Guyana for the West Indies Women Cricket Tournament: Senaldo Willett (vice-captain), Rozel Liburd, Melicia Clarke, Kerisha Powell and Kimberly Dookhan. This year’s West Indies Women Cricket Championship is currently being held in Jamaica, but due to a clash with exam dates, Senaldo Willett is the only Nevisian on the Leeward Islands Women Cricket team.