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East defend U-19 InterZone title vs Central

By Roger Seepersad

East will be looking to clinch their second consecutive BG T&T Under-19 InterZone crown when they face 2010 winners Central in the two-day final at the National Cricket Centre, Balmain, Couva, bowling off at 10 a.m. today.

Anthony Simmons will lead a strong and confident East Zone team, while former Trinidad and Tobago Under-15 and Under-17 skipper Vikash Mohan will serve as vice-captain.

East manager Mervin Pierre said his team, coached by national Under-19 coach Tarrandath Sammy, is very confident of overcoming a Central squad they have already defeated once this season.

Central were knocked out of the competition by East at the semi-final stage last season and were dismissed for under 100 in their final group stage match in the 2012 tournament last week.

Pierre noted that East were a very strong team on paper, with the likes of 2011 national Under-19 all-rounder Isaiah Rajah and West Indies Under-19 all-rounder Brian Christmas in their ranks.

Rajah is one of two players in the East Zone team to score a century in the tournament this season, the other being Ewart Nicholson.

Christmas was selected on the West Indies Under-19 squad last year at the age of 15. He travelled with the team to Dubai where he played one youth ODI against the Australia Under-19 team but did not make a big impact.

Also lining up for East is Queen's Park Cricket Club batsman Jeremy Solozano, who scored one half-century in the tournament. Stefan Wharwood also contributed with the bat, hitting two half centuries.

Leading the bowling for East will be pacers Kerwyn Badal and Clinton Changa.

Changa played a key role in leading East to the BG T&T Under-17 title last season and will be looking to do the same at the Under-19 level.

Though they are up against a strong East team, Central are not intimidated.

Central coach Keith Joseph said his players have been training hard over the Easter holidays and believes they will give a better account of themselves in the final today and tomorrow.

"They knocked us out in the semi-finals last year and they beat us on first innings last week but we are looking to go one step further this time around. We had some practice sessions...the guys have been working very hard," said Joseph.

"I think our fielding let us down when we lost to them last week, but we have been working on that and we expect a better performance from our players," he added.

For Central, they will be banking on in-form batsman Nicholas Pooran to deliver. Pooran was one of the leading batsmen in the PowerGen Secondary Schools Cricket League, scoring two centuries.

Central will be led by CLICO Preysal batsman Andy Gobin.

The final bowls off at 10 a.m. today and continues from 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.

U-19 INTERZONE SQUADS

East (from): Anthony Simmons (captain), Vikash Mohan (vice-captain), Isaiah Rajah, Brian Christmas, Stefan Wharwood, Jeremy Solozano, Clinton Changa, Kerwyn Badal, Ewart Nicholson, Antonio Alleyne, Nicholas Wellington, Lyndell Nelson. Tarrandath Sammy (coach), Mervin Pierre (manger)

Central (from): Andy Gobin (captain), Nicholas Pooran, Mathias Ramcharan, Christopher Vincent, Ricardo Gibson, Brandon Harrylochan, Timothy Jagmohan, Musa Mohamed, Mikesi Rolle, Videsh Sankar, Yusaf Kenedie, Vickram Tajai, Kieron Alexander. Keith Joseph (coach), Narsingh Rambarran (manager)

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