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Mercy Makes Music (and Sports) a Good Mix

Simply The Best

Please Let Youth Carry The Day

27 for National Cricket Trials

No TnT (Yet) For Lucian Women Ballers

Lacklustre Showing For St. Lucia In Lacklustre Meet

"We Can Reach The Caribbean Netball Finals"

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Mercy Makes Music (and Sports) a Good Mix

    People Michael Ollivierre is either a lucky man or a very intelligent one...perhaps a little of each. Currently Sports Coordinator at the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (following several years as one of the top track and field coaches in Jamaica) Ollivierre is also one of the most exciting calypsonians from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Sports and music - he loves them both, and over the years he's found a way to meld his twin passions in seamless fashion.
    Ollivierre's latest compact disc - "Thank You Merlene" - is a tribute to Merlene Ottey, arguably Jamaica's greatest athlete ever and a five-time Olympic sprinter. This year she's aiming for her sixth appearance at the Olympic Games, and the entire Caribbean region is sure to support her, none more so than the man who has gone by the stage name 'Lord Have Mercy' for more than twenty years. This year alone, Ollivierre/Mercy has wowed audiences in St. Lucia and his native SVG with an energetic rendering of "Hee Haw" - an original tune that previously appeared on his CD "God Is The Greatest" and which also forms part of this present effort. Also on "Thank You Merlene" is the title track from the prior CD.
    Make no mistake, though: "Thank You Merlene" is first and foremost a reflection of Ollivierre's dedication to sports. Ollivierre, who is presently coach of top Caribbean distance runner Pamenos Ballantyne, has a history of paying tribute in song to outstanding athletes, not least of which is Jamaica's 1998 national football team. The 1998 "Road To France" recognised their achievement as the first team from an English-speaking Caribbean territory to attain to the World Cup finals with. "Thank You Merlene" is produced in collaboration with renowned St. Lucian-born jazz musician Ronald 'Boo' Hinkson. Following its release in Jamaica, the CD will become available throughout the Eastern Caribbean in August.


Simply The Best

    Levern_Spencer1(27 July 2000) - In St. Lucia, we have a double standard towards hyperbole. We'll use it ourselves and denounce it in the strongest possible terms if someone else decides to emulate us. In the arena of sports as eminent a personage as Sir Vincent Floissac has called for an end to exaggeration, especially in negative terms. The article you're reading, though, is as far from negative as one could possibly imagine.
    Levern Spencer is not yet sixteen years old. She's a third form student, a skinny, gangly individual, unpretentious and as humble as they come. She's also national high jump champion and national record holder in that event. She first broke the record in March 1999, clearing 1.67m and occasioning some enthusiasm from the few who knew about her, the few who still bother to follow track and field.
    Eighteen months later, Levern is indubitably the brightest star in the St. Lucian sports pantheon. This week, at the Windward Islands Secondary School Games, she reset her national record for the fourth time since that first big jump last year. Her clearance in Kingstown of 1.80m marked the second consecutive year she's reset the meet record, and it's an improvement of seven centimetres over her next best leap. Her new best height places her easily among the best in the Caribbean - including Jamaica, Barbados and even Cuba.
    Here's further perspective. Levern's been to the CARIFTA Championships and the Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships this year, taking bronze at the former and no medal at the latter. Had she cleared 1.8m at either meet, she'd have brought home gold. Her mental toughens is remarkable; Levern barely practiced ahead of the CAC meet, which itself came just two weeks in advance of the Windwards Games.
    Dominic Johnson may have a senior CAC gold medal, but he's a decade older than Spencer, and no other athlete has been as consistent as those two in any sport. A word of caution, though: Levern's ability and her age have drawn comparisons with Michelle Baptiste, the sprint and long jump star who was rated among the best in the world as a junior. Injuries followed, though, and for some reason Michelle was never able to regain the form that made her a 1996 Olympian. (I still think she's going to be alright.) Once Levern avoids injury, though, and continues to develop at her current rate, she'll keep shining for years and years to come.


Please Let Youth Carry The Day

    (3 August 2000) - The St. Lucia National Cricket Association this week announced a twenty-seven-member squad to begin preparing for the 2000 Windward Islands senior tournament in November. Seven of them are teenagers and another four are in their early twenties, prompting me to once again play selector and name my first eleven comprising principally young players. Last year, the selectors initially ignored me, but by the final game of the Windwards tourney they'd introduced no less than four junior players. Let them be forewarned.
    Gaspard Prospere hit a poor run of form at the Windwards under nineteen competition, costing him a place on the side to the Nortel West Indies tournament in Guyana. At the recent Sir Garfield Sobers International Schools Tournament he redeemed himself, with the bat and behind the stumps. Prospere opened the batting for St. Lucia Combined School, making 189 runs at an average of 24.1 with a fifty and three scores over 25 in eight innings. He's come some way as a batsman, though there's room for improvement - as a wicketkeeper, he may be the best in St. Lucia, and I think he should come in at the top of the order.
    The senior partner in the opening pair, though, would be Mon Repos' Libert Serieux. Just a couple of years removed from the under nineteen ranks, he's a strong player all round the wicket, with a reasonably good array of powerful shots. Danny Harris, I think, needs the responsibility of captaincy. With Vieux Fort absent from the local Piton Beer tournament this year, Danny played for Laborie, showing flashes of the run-scoring ability that brought him a Busta Cup debut this year. He's a good allrounder and he could be an excellent batsman.
    The seniors come in at four and five. John Eugene simply can't be overlooked, having scored a record number of runs in the domestic game this year for champions Gros Islet. At thirty, he could still command the attention of the West Indies selectors, provided he maintains his current form. Sheldon Thorpe, the Central Castries captain, has implied that this year he could be calling it quits, which would be a shame. His all round skills were a boon for the 1999 Windwards.
    National-captain-in-waiting Sergio Fedee has been touted as a future Windies player. Like Harris, he's a good allrounder who could be an excellent batsman if he could find a bit more consistency and application. He made 184 at 19.1 at the Sir Garry, taking five wickets at 10.3, a very respectable average. Following Fedee, I'd have Darren Sammy. Who? Previously not unknown, the youngster from Vieux Fort made his name this year in the United Insurance domestic schools competition, then at the Windwards under nineteen and again at the Sir Garry. He led St. Lucia's batting in the latter competition, with over 200 runs and three half centuries. He was also the second-best bowler on the side, with 12 at 16.6 runs apiece.
    The best bowler for St. Lucia at Sir Garry, at Windwards under nineteen, and last year at senior Windwards, would have been Mon Repos allrounder Gairy Mathurin, junior cricketer of the year 1999. He had 17 wickets at Sir Garry, for an average under ten runs. A Windwards under nineteen selectee, he also scores well down the order and fields well, especially for a young St. Lucian. No relation, Cletus Mathurin (also of Mon Repos) can take up the new ball attack for St. Lucia in partnership with Gros Islet's Joseph Hall, the leading wicket-taker in domestic cricket this year. When the pitch wears, Gairy Mathurin can hook up with another gifted young spinner, Joachim George, to bottle up the opposition.
    Batting down to number nine, with four genuine front-line bowlers, four other players capable of bringing their arms over and taking a wicket or two - it looks a good St. Lucian team, but it'll never happen. Alton Crafton just won two domestic titles, and he's almost a lock for an opening spot. Prospere will compete with Alderman Lesmond (Mon Repos) Elbert Frederick (Gros Islet) and Edmund Smith (Mabouya) for the gloves, and Joachim George wasn't even called up. A host of quick bowlers will try to deny Cletus Mathurin a place, and competitive juices will be flowing. Still and all, St. Lucia ought to do well this year, and if any of my kids get a chance, I don't think they'll be making me eat my words of praise.


27 for National Cricket Trials

    (3 August 2000) - The national cricket selection committee, headed by Gilroy Satney, called up a total of 27 players for national training a week ago, in preparation for the 2000 Windward Islands senior tournament in November. The names of those players were released to the media Thursday, as follows:

    Gros Islet:
    John Eugene
    Alton Crafton
    Elbert Frederick
    Kent Crafton
    Joseph Hall
    Wendel Roberts

    Mon Repos:
    Libert Serieux
    Garvin Serieux
    Bernard Gaston
    Alderman Lesmond
    Cletus Mathurin
    Richardise Joseph

    Under Nineteen:
    Sergio Fedee
    Gaspard Prospere
    Gairy Mathurin
    Darren Sammy
    Sharm Pierre

    Central Castries:
    Sheldon Thorpe
    Gregg Wilson

    Shawn Edward
    Trevor Wells
    Sherwin Charles
    Lloyd Clifford
    Edmund Smith

    Danny Harris
    Ashley Duncan

    Isidore Mathurin


No TnT (Yet) For Lucian Women Ballers

    (4 August 2000) - The national women's football team is continuing preparations for a tournament in limbo, as the final of the Caribbean Football Union women's tournament has been pushed back from next weekend. The tournament has been suffering from insufficient funds, and organisers are saying that the CFU final will be played next October in the twin island republic.
    On top of everything else, the women's team may be further victimised by the FA situation as reported last week in Sports Bulletin. If there's any lingering uncertainty surrounding the FA Executive in late September, the CFU would be well within its rights to exclude St. Lucia from the women's competition.
    Sports Bulletin readers may recall St. Lucia qualified for the CFU final by trouncing the British Virgin Islands 21-nil on aggregate earlier this year.


Lacklustre Showing For St. Lucia In Lacklustre Meet

    (31 July 2000) - St. Lucia ended third at the just-concluded Windward Islands Secondary School Games in St. Vincent and the Grenadines; this after players from other unnamed territories were kicked out for infractions including smoking marijuana and contravening the tournament's age limit.
    The St. Lucian team failed to win a single discipline in the compendium competition, their best result second in volleyball, netball and basketball. Remember, St. Lucia is without a doubt the best volleyball-playing territory in the Windwards and Leewards. In the sub-region only SVG can consistently beat us in netball. The Windwards Games, though, discourage specialist players in any discipline. All of St. Lucia's teams were badly watered down.
    The track and field team was considered one of St. Lucia's strong points, with national champions Nessa Paul, Jineill Vite and Levern Spencer in the fold. In the end, only Spencer and Vieux Fort sprinter Shem Emmanuel performed, and St. Lucia finished third in track and field.
    Worst of all was football, where St. Lucia was dead last. This discipline always suffers and the standard of competition is always low. A pair of former Windwards Games competitors posited that it's because "these guys figure that in St. Lucia all boys play a little football, so they just throw anyone on the team." A wrong-headed approach to a silly tournament.


"We Can Reach The Caribbean Netball Finals"

    (30 July 2000) - Connie Francis played thirteen years with the Jamaica national netball team, the last few of those as captain. Upon retiring from the game last year, she became a full-time coach, hence her current stint here in St. Lucia with the senior national team. With Jamaica, Francis grew used to success, and she's expecting little less of St. Lucia, whom she deems one of the most talented and difficult sides in all the region. "We always had to dig a little deeper when we played St. Lucia," she says, recalling her playing days.
    Now Francis feels she can convert St. Lucia into one of the top teams in the Caribbean, capable of making the finals when the senior regional tournament gets underway in Nevis later this month. "I'm trying to give them a sense of mental toughness, a killer instinct. If they can just put teams away when they have them down, they can go far." Having teams down is easy for St. Lucia, a deep and experienced team, especially in attack. Michelle Rogers, Germaine Altifois and Barbara Joseph-Theobalds form a dangerous attacking trio, and Francis is thrilled to have players of their calibre to work with. She says, though, that her main goal is to improve the defensive performance of the St. Lucian team, and she's looking forward to accomplishing that before the team tips off on the 16th.







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