WESTERN BUREAU:Red Stripe Premier League club FC Reno has been busy during the January transfer window, and Dean Malloy, the club’s manager, believes the new recruits have already started to make an impact.Six players were brought and two left, and Malloy is confident they will help pull the club up the standings and finish the season on a high.”We have been doing some business and, so far, we are happy with the players we have brought in,” Malloy said.”Two players have left the club, including central midfielder Leonard Rankine, who joined Western Confederation Super League club Sandals Whitehouse.Joining the former three-time champions are two attacking players in Anthony Markes, formerly of Harbour View FC, and Taj Coley, who played for Appleton in the St Elizabeth Major League.It’s in attack that FC Reno are mostly bereft of talent, so with the addition of Markes and Coley, they should at least be converting more chances.FRESH SQUAD”These players have freshened up the squad, and the team is beginning to look the part once again,” Malloy said.On Sunday, while none of the new recruits got onto the score sheet, FC Reno posted a hard-working 2-0 win over Cavalier SC at the Frome Sports Complex.Romario Downswell and Dershan Bryan scored in the seventh and 91st minutes, respectively, to give Reno their first win in five matches.Sunday’s win comes on the heels of another decent performance, as they played to a draw in their previous outing and are looking a lot more settled.”We are hoping that the new players will add some impetus and help steer the club away from relegation,” said Malloy.”It is fair to say that we are charting a new way forward, and all the players in our squad will have a role to play in moving the club forward,” he added.
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):West Indies Twenty20 captain, Darren Sammy, has assured the region his squad will not boycott the upcoming T20 World Cup in India next month.Fears the 15-man squad would opt out of the March 8 to April 3 tournament were heightened over the past week when it emerged that yet another contract dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) was simmering.Writing on the players’ behalf, Sammy told the WICB that the new contracts pay structure was unacceptable, arguing that it represented between a 50 and 80 per cent reduction in earnings.However, in an interview with a radio station on Thursday, he said the squad had never considered skipping the event and were committed to playing even though their concerns were yet to be resolved.”I would like to let it be known that not at any given time did the West Indies team think about not going to the Cricket World Cup,” Sammy said categorically.”We’ve all made it clear that we were going to play the World Cup. At the end of the day, we are professionals, we are paid to play cricket. Iit is our job, it is our life. We just had some issues, some questions we wanted to ask and we asked them, and we’ve just not gotten a response.WORLD CUP A PRIORITY”But we want to assure the Caribbean that playing the World Cup has been at the forefront of all the players’ minds and we will do whatever we can in our power to go out there and win the World Cup for the Caribbean people.”Players complained that under the new pay structure, their guaranteed income for the upcoming World Cup stood at a mere US$27,600.In the past, the lowest paid player was guaranteed nearly US$60,000, with the highest paid player raking in US$137,000.The WICB hit back by outlining the new International Cricket Council (ICC) pay system, which now sees funds to ICC members disbursed over an eight-year period instead of for specific tournaments.Further, the board pointed out that it had, along with players’ union WIPA, the International Cricketers Association and a representative from the International Cricket Council (ICC), engaged in mediation last year to hammer out the new agreement for players – which was then communicated to them.Sammy said even though players would go ahead with the tour, serious concerns remained over the agreement and noted that the WICB and the players needed to continue communication on the matter.”The issues we raised, the questions we asked, when we come out of the cricket, the younger players will get experience and come out and ask the same set of questions, so you need to find a common ground where both parties are happy or we need to find a way to communicate better,” the all-rounder advised.”We must put our egos aside. At the end of the day, the board cannot do without the players and the players need our cricket board in order for things to function.”Sammy said that for many of the seasoned players on the squad, the T20 World Cup could prove to be their final ICC event and this was extra motivation to lift the title.”It’s the format that we’re best at. We cannot ignore that. I believe the squad that has been picked is very capable of going to India and winning the World Cup,” he said.STRATEGISING WITH COACH”We all will be coming from playing cricket … we will have a lot of cricket matches under our belt, and I can’t wait for the opportunity to strategise with coach, Phil Simmons, in order to plan the way we’re going to win the World Cup.”He added: “I know we’re painted … to be a certain type of cricketers, but this could be an end of an era where Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy – from Under-15 and Under-19 (level) in West Indies team; this could be the last ICC event that most of these players could be playing so we all are motivated.”I know from speaking to the guys, we will give it our best shot, and hopefully, we can repeat what we did in Sri Lanka (in 2012) in India.”
British-USA Invitational St ElizabethSt Bess capped a fairy-tale season when they defeated defending champions Black Star 2-1 to win the Magnum/St Elizabeth FA Major League title.In the final hosted at St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) last weekend, St Bess rocked the champions early when Cleon Barrett score in fifth minute. They were, however, brought down to earth when Kareem Lewis scored four minutes later to equalise at 1-1.The score remained 1-1 until the half-time break to keep the sides’ fans on the edge.However, eight minutes after the resumption, Kirk Wanliss scored to give the St Bess team a 2-1 lead. It would remain that way as new champions were created.The occasion was historic as St Bess were competing in the Major League for the first season.On the other hand, it was a major disappointment for Black Star who had won the midseason title over Real Treasure Beach FC and also led on points for the duration of the preliminary round.Both teams will, however, represent the parish in the upcoming South Central Confed play-offs. Holland Police Youth Club secured third after a play-off with fellow beaten semi-finalist Real Treasure Beach FC. Both teams played to a 2-2 draw after regulation and extra time, but Holland prevailed 9-8 on penalties.Star Zone shine outclass Stone LoveStone Love International were no match for the British-USA Invitational football team as the former were trounced 4-0 in an exhibition game during the Jus Kool Promotions’ British Champions League one-day tournament at the Waterhouse Mini Stadium recently.Kevin Clarke scored a double strike, while Ben Bryan and Oliver Turbul completed the scoring for British-USA Invitational.In the opening game Duhaney Park Masters beat Waterhouse Masters 3-1.Meanwhile, Donovan ‘Chunky’ Hylton of Jus Kool Promotions said that he felt it necessary to rekindle people’s love for this football tournament in this community with its return after 10 years in the wilderness. He was pleased that Exclusiv Vodka, represented by brand executive Marlon Thompson, was on board. The event also featured music by the world-renowned Stone Love Movements, a fish fry and a fun day for the children.Dunbeholden, Bodles rule St CatherineDunbeholden and Bodles FC were both crowned champions of the St Catherine Football Association’s Major and Division One Leagues, respectively, at the Spanish Town Prison Oval last Sunday.Dunbeholden defeated Tru Juice 1-0 in a hard-fought final, as a first-half goal by Lorenzo Dubidad gave them the Major League title in the feature encounter of a double-header. In the opening game, captain Andre Dyce (10th minute penalty) and Donovan Wolfe’s 70th minute strike secured a 2-0 win for Bodles over Watson Grove.Jamaica Lacrosse seek help from overseasCalbert Hutchinson, president of the Jamaica Lacrosse Association, spent some time in Toronto, Canada, last week in strategic planning and idea sharing sessions with one of the all-time greats from the sport, John Tavares, a 19-time all-pro selection. Tavares, who played for the Buffalo Bandits, is the leading scorer in National Lacrosse League history.PFM International wins big in cricketThe spirit of defending champions Power of Faith Ministries International (PFM Int’l) were lifted after they shrugged off last week’s shock loss to Power of Faith Development (PFM Dev.) team, as they won by 135 runs over Faith Temple New Testament in their cricket match. Scores: PFM Int’l. 193-5; Peter Harrison 89 (nine 4s, six 6s), 45 deliveries; Junior Stewart 43. Anthony Richards 2-31. Faith Temple 58 all-out in 9.2 overs; Anthony Richards 23, Mario Walters 3-11. Marlon Hoilette 2-0 from 0.2 overs and Aston Canegan 2-21.In the opening game, Portmore Gospel Assembly (PGA) defeated PFM Dev. by 22 runs. Scores: PGA 130-5 – Damion Bryce 51 and Ralston Nelson 31. Jerome Herion 2-22 and Duvanne Mighty 2-23. In response, PFM were restricted to 108-5. Shannon King 24 and Dwight Burrell 26. Kimani Morgan 2-10.All four teams are on five points each. Game on this morning: PFM Int’l vs PGA at 10 a.m.St Bess FC rule in Manchester Division One finalStar Zone prevailed 2-0 over Technical Strikers 2-0 to lift the 2016 Jamalco-sponsored Manchester Division One football title.In the final at Brooks Park, Star Zone secured promotion to next season’s Major League through goals from Geo Givans (14th minute) and Jermaine Robinson (90th).Both teams are relatively new to competition at the parish level. Remarkably, it was Star Zone’s debut season, while Technical Strikers were competing for the second year.Both teams can be promoted, but the Manchester FA reserves the right to make a final assessment re management structure and readiness.