Title-chasers Jamaica Scorpions and Barbados Pride will square-off in a crucial encounter in the penultimate set of matches of the group phase of the WICB/NAGICO Insurance Super50 Tournament in Trinidad and Tobago today.Second and third, respectively, in Group A with 10 and nine points each, the two will enter the contest knowing that a win for eight team would all but secure them a place in the semi-finals.Group leaders Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, who oppose cellar dwellers ICC America, are presently on 17 points and have already qualified for the semi-finals.”It’s a (virtual) must-win for both of us, so I guess they (Barbados) will be playing it like a final and we will be doing the same,” Jamaica’s captain, John Campbell, said yesterday.The return-led round-robin fixture will see both teams entering the contest with a win two, lose two record, with Jamaica ahead based on having two bonus points compared to Barbados’ one.The Scorpions, however, can claim bragging rights, having defeated Barbados by two wickets when the two met earlier this week.Led by a man-of-the-match bowling performance of three for 18 from left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell, Jamaica bowled out the Pride for a mere 138 before replying with 139 for eight.The in-form Andre McCarthy, who also has a tournament century, and Antiguan Devon Thomas led the batting for the Scorpions with 49 and 33, respectively.However, with the end of the Australian Test series both teams have been strengthened with the return of West Indies players to their line-ups.Barbados has been injected with seven players – Jason Holder, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shai Hope, Carlos Brathwaite, Shane Dowich, Miguel Cummins, and Jomel Warrican, while Jamaica will benefit from the return of Jerome Taylor and Jermaine Blackwood.”They have got back all their players from Australia, and have a better squad, and are also coming off a win, so they should be confident,” remarked Campbell.”But we are not too concerned,” he said. “We have seen signs of improvement throughout the tournament, and, it is just for us to put it together.”Jamaica will play the Americas and Barbados will tackle Trinidad in the final set of group matches scheduled for Sunday.The semi-finals will be played next Wednesday and Thursday, with the final carded for next Saturday, all at Queen’s Park Oval.
The highest level Strong youth programme “They have a pretty strong youth programme in Barbados and I must say it’s better than in Jamaica,” Samuels added. Dominik was captain of his prep school team in Barbados and when he moved to Jamaica at age 11, also captain Sts Peter and Paul Prep School team for one year, before moving on to Campion College. “It was a good experience because their structure is a bit different. They play hard ball and being a part of the training squad – because the boys were two or three years older – helped me. I’ve played not only local players there, but also from England and visiting teams,” Samuels said. Samuels has been outstanding in the Grace Shield, scoring 782 runs this season. The batting all rounder also scored four centuries, with a top score of 136 not out against St George’s College and three half centuries. He helped Campion reach the semi-finals of the Grace Shield and led them to the title last season. For Samuels, it isn’t only about playing sport. The Jamaica and West Indies youth representative believes in balancing academics as well. Having earned a government scholarship to Campion, he has been on the school’s honour roll every year since. Now in the fifth form, he will do nine subjects at the Caribbean Examinations Council level later this year. SOME might say that cricket is a dying sport in Jamaica. But 16-year-old Dominik Samuels does not appear to be one who believes that. The Campion College Grace Shield team member has been playing cricket since he was four years old and in 12 years of playing at the prep and high school levels, his passion for the sport has never waned. While his father Raymond played Headley Cup cricket as a student of York Castle High, it was while still a young boy living in Barbados that Dominik’s love for the game really developed. “I influenced him, but I think the turning point for him was when I was on vacation and we were in St Ann and his cousin who was a couple of years older played cricket and he saw his cousin playing. We lived in the Bahamas, he started playing, but they don’t really play cricket in the Bahamas so there was no opportunity. I relocated to Barbados and at age five he really got to play cricket because they have a really strong prep school competition there,” the elder Samuels explained. While there, he also played for Wanderers Cricket Club and got the opportunity to play in camps with older and more experienced boys. “I’m certainly looking to play for the West Indies in the future, to play at the highest level of cricket. But I still want to balance my cricket and academics as well,” he said. “It’s a matter of time management really. I have to make timetables and understand that if I want to be successful I know how much work I have to put out so I can train in the evening,” he added. Having the strong support of both his parents who attend his games also helps, he said. As for the future, he wants to attend a school in the United Kingdom, where he can continue to pursue his cricketing goals. “Cricket is a game where you have to be disciplined and patient and you have to understand that things take time and you have to be diligent in what you do and cricket also taught me that when you fight out of tough situations you always come out with good results,” he said.