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Saturday, 9 June, 2001, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK
Trophy receives big-name backing
Phil Simmons
Phil Simmons shows off the Western Union Trophy
Joel Garner has not backed many losers when it comes to cricket.

So, with cricket at a low ebb in the Caribbean, any UK-based West Indies supporters looking for succour could do worse than turn their attention to a small but blossoming club competition.

It promises to be a great breeding ground for aspiring cricketers
  Joel Garner

The Western Union Cricket Trophy is a competition for teams primarily of West Indian heritage from around England.

Gloucestershire captain Mark Alleyne and Essex fast bowler Ricky Anderson are two current first-class cricketers to have played in the competition and others seem sure to follow.

Garner, the legendary West Indies fast bowler, is the patron of the event and he is convinced of the competition's promise.

"It's a great honour to be associated with the Western Union Cricket Trophy, which is playing a role in establishing the West Indies as a cricket force," he said.

Joel Garner
Garner tormented England for many years

"It promises to be a great breeding ground for aspiring cricketers whilst providing some top-class entertainment."

Garner is joined in backing the 24-team competition by Phil Simmons, the West Indian all-rounder who enjoyed several successful seasons with Leicestershire, and onetime England all-rounder Chris Lewis.

And cricketers are not the only well-known names involved.

Shoring up the Luton Caribbean batting line-up is Mark Stein, the former Chelsea and Luton striker.

"It is great for me to support a national cricket competition which encourages players from all backgrounds to play the game," said Simmons.

Lewis plays for the Nottingham-based West Indian Cavaliers, although he does not play in the Trophy.

"Having grown up in Harlesden and followed West Indian heritage teams ever since it is great to be involved in such a competition now," said Lewis.

"It is a great tournament which helps raise the profile of Caribbean cricket.

"The West Indian Cavaliers team helps reach out into the local community and there is a great atmosphere at matches.

Former England all-rounder Chris Lewis
Cavalier: Chris Lewis

"We have several promising youngsters coming through the ranks - our 16-year-old wicketkeeper has just signed a summer contract with Nottinghamshire."

The teams are divided into eight groups for a round-robin stage, before the top two advance to the knock-out stage.

Teams from Sheffield, Huddersfield, Birmingham and Wycombe are taking part, along with a number from London.

The final will be held at Dagenham on 2 September.

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See also:

09 Jun 01 |  Cricket
West Indies shake up pace attack
09 Jun 01 |  Counties
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