Who will unseat the South Castries Castries Lions and reign as the third champions of the Saint Lucia Premier League (SPL T20)?
The journey to the 2019 title begins this weekend, with the Choiseul Craftmasters coming up against Soufriere Stumpers in a Group A match-up from 7:30 p.m. Friday on the Philip Marcellin Grounds in Vieux Fort.
Led by Bronté Bess, the Craftmasters will rely on Saint Lucia national captain Audy Alexander and Vince Smith to spearhead their run-scoring.
Smith, the Choiseul vice-captain, had the third-most runs last season, and second-highest average, behind Alexander. Junior “Ti-Pots” Henry and Jason Simon will be expected to contribute as well.
Shanii Mesmain and Bess will be expected to feature with the ball. Mesmain’s eight wickets in 2018 were the fourth-most. Bess added six wickets, and Alvinus Simon chipped in with five.
The Stumpers, with captain Ashley Hippolyte, will have to lift their games considerably to play a role in this year’s tournament. Whereas Choiseul were unbeaten in the preliminaries a year ago, Soufriere won just one match. Hippolyte made just 85 runs in three innings, whilst Wayne Prospere and Sanjay Pamphile took five wickets each.
The opening weekend continues on Saturday evening, as the defending champions face off against the Mon Repos Pioneers from 5 p.m. followed by the home team Vieux Fort North Raiders taking on the Gros Islet Knights at 8:30 p.m.
On Sunday, from 3:30, 2017 champions Avatar City Blasters play Soufriere Stumpers, followed by Craftmasters versus Mabouya Valley Renegades.
Tickets for Vieux Fort start at EC$15 at the grounds.