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Treasure Beach revels in Gayle, Lara showcase

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

By Sanjay Myers, Jamaica Observer

Former West Indies cricketers Brian Lara and Chris Gayle soaked up the attention of adoring fans as thousands packed into the Treasure Beach Sports Park in St Elizabeth for Sunday's cricket festival.

Lara, the 53-year-old Trinidadian who holds the world record Test score of 400 not out, said it was a "great" vibe. "Coming here, it was a no-brainer, it's something I'd do again tomorrow if I had to," Lara said during an interview after Gayle's XI defeated Lara's XI by 11 runs in the feature match. "But to see the turnout was spectacular, it looks like the entire parish came out. It was great to see the atmosphere. It was great fun. At my age, I'm not going out there to be too serious."

Photos: Lisa Folb

The Jamaican, Gayle, 43, who like Lara was mobbed by spectators before, during, and after the exhibition contest, expressed glee at the support for the exhibition match. "I haven't seen this [size] crowd in a long time, especially here in Jamaica," he said. "It goes to show that people still love cricket, and I know St Elizabeth is the heart of cricket. But it's not everyone here that's from St Elizabeth, people from all over came.

"Big thanks to Brian Lara as well to actually take part in such a game. It's fantastic and people want to see these things. They haven't seen him for a long time so it's actually good to be part of an initiative, and I'm glad for the turnout. It's overwhelming, I'm exhausted, a lot of photos, but the people haven't seen us in a long time."

Some estimated that the cricket festival, organised by former West Indies and Jamaica pace bowler Daren Powell, with the support of community leaders and hoteliers, drew more than 7,000 spectators at the venue located in the picturesque Treasure Beach community.

Photos: Lisa Folb

And on a sunny and windy afternoon they were treated to plenty of action as Gayle's XI, led by a half century from the skipper, posted 156-6 from their allotted 20 overs. Gayle, who twice survived being bowled by a no-ball – first from Nikita Miller and later by Krishmar Santokie – top-scored with 52 from 37 deliveries. The big left-hander struck six fours and two sixes.

  • Ricardo McGeachy contributed a 17-ball 34.

  • Santokie, the left-arm swing bowler, took 2-26.

  • Lara's XI were led by Wavell Hinds' 46-ball 43, but they were restricted to 145-4. Lara, who also benefited when Damion Ebanks twice bowled him with no-balls, made a run-a-ball 32.

  • In the opening match at the venue, Manchester All Stars defeated their St Elizabeth counterparts by seven wickets.

  • St Elizabeth All Stars batted first and made 111-8 from 18 overs, but the Manchester team made light work of the run chase, getting to 112-3 in 16 overs and two balls.

This article first appeared in the Jamaica Observer on 16th January 2023

Photos: Lisa Folb



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